Daniel Fierman
August 09, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Teacher: The One Who Made the Difference

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Mark Edmundson
publisher
Random House
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it an B+

Someone should be fired for the title, which conjures damp tales of the Stand and Deliver or Dangerous Minds school: Edmundson’s story of Franklin Lears’ philosophy course at a working-class Boston-area high school in the late ’60s deserves better. How the class prodded the author’s transformation from an isolated football meathead to a Yale grad and university professor is chockablock with wit, detail, and surprisingly clear-eyed memory. The result is surprisingly powerful for anyone who found his adolescent intelligence to be a flickering thing, as raw and unreliable as a half-screwed-in lightbulb.

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