Have you got your copy yet? My new book is now available. A conservative ILYBYGTH blog reader was kind enough to read the book and send me some reflections. I’ll post them in full below. They are very kind. I’ll be sure to post news of less flattering reviews as well.
I finished reading The Other School Reformers. These are just my thoughts and opinions.
I don’t think you made a mockery of conservatives / conservatism. Some activists confound stereotypes, but there are certainly ones who confirm them. It wasn’t always pretty, but it wasn’t mockery. It’s just honest. You talked about “specific people making specific claims about specific educational programs.” And “specific times and places.” (7) It didn’t mean that every conservative would condone or support every action or idea.
I’m glad extremist examples were included. Pointing out extremists, I think, can give valuable information. I didn’t object at all to you talking about it. In the whole context, it made sense to me to include extreme examples since the survival of the US was at stake. (I don’t condone extremist tactics of course) And as time went on, they found themselves “fighting for much narrower aims.” (16) I didn’t think this a couple years ago, but now think pointing out extremes is a positive thing and helps lead to an understanding that a reader wouldn’t get otherwise.
I started by reading the index, then going through the index again to see what people or ideas you were going to talk about the most. That was helpful for seeing the continuity of the issues and just getting an idea of what the book was going to be about.
You made it very clear in the introduction and in the first chapter that your intent was to let conservatives speak for themselves and said that a few times in a few different ways.
Your introduction and first chapter were really well thought out and made the rest of the book clear. I appreciated the quick progressions under A Moving Target starting on page (14) to get a good overview and to provide some understanding of the changes before delving in.
I appreciate that you started and ended with your personal experience in the schools.
I really enjoy your writing style. Though you allowed conservatives to speak for themselves and you put the spotlight on them, you were still the storyteller. Imho, the style of your writing accurately portrays the feelings (of some conservatives and certainly the people you talked about), and keeps the reader engaged in the story. There was a nice ebb and flow of being matter of fact, speaking in a bit of an indignant tone, and using creative language to get your point across. Your writing enhances without sensationalizing or exaggerating. (or if it does I think the reader knows that) It can lead people to be introspective and curious. (Well, it does for me.)
It was interesting to note that the Gablers didn’t seem to understand what a scientific theory was / is. (195) I may have said that before to you, but did note it in here.
You demonstrated all throughout the book change and continuity, and the goals and strategies. There were many interesting things to note and some confirmations of things I’ve been thinking about.
I’d give it a ten out of ten, or a full 5 stars on Amazon. I can’t see how it could have been better, it was so well thought out. It provided the reader with a deep understanding of the issues and people. It seemed to me that you delivered exactly what you said you were going to deliver in a way that made the argument for why you structured the book the way you did make sense. If I’m supposed to find something negative about the book, that knowledge is above my head.
I enjoyed it!