Best Class You Never Had: A Novel

Best Class You Never Had: A Novel

by Jim Cullen
Best Class You Never Had: A Novel

Best Class You Never Had: A Novel

by Jim Cullen


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A classroom of skeptical students and their charismatic teacher make a foray into the nation’s past. The characters are fictive; the history—most importantly, the vision of history, grounded in a dying but immortal dream—is real.

History teacher Kevin Lee is retiring from Seneca Falls High School, where he has worked for the past forty years. He decides to use the freedom of his pending exit to toss the state curriculum and teach the U.S. survey as the story of the alluring, inspiring, murderous concept we know as the American Dream—which, he understands, his students regard with justified, if instinctive, skepticism. Lee discusses the rise, fall, and legacy of the Dream with these smart, funny, and irreverent eleventh graders, in a narrative peppered with memos, email exchanges, text messages, student journalism, and other documents from beyond the walls of his classroom. The result is the best history class you never had.

A chronological history of the United States, this compelling novel also offers a snapshot of American education, written by a veteran teacher who slices through the arid literature of pedagogy to vividly depict the life of the classroom. Finally, it offers a deeply affectionate and patriotic vision of American life—one fully aware of the nation’s limits and failures while honoring the longings so many of us have to believe in our country, even as we harbor deepening doubts about our nation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781682619919
Publisher: Permuted Press
Publication date: 07/06/2021
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Jim Cullen was born in Queens, New York, the son of a New York City firefighter. Jim taught at Harvard, Brown, and Sarah Lawrence College before spending nineteen years at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York, where he has served as chair of the History Department and as a member of the Board of Trustees. He currently teaches history at newly founded Greenwich (CT) Country Day School. He is the author of nineteen books, and his work has appeared in the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Newsday,, Forbes, The American Historical Review, The Journal of American History, and other publications.
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