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Mar 27, 2012
| ISBN 9780143120292
Mar 31, 2011
| ISBN 9781101476208
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Mar 27, 2012 | ISBN 9780143120292
Mar 31, 2011 | ISBN 9781101476208
The controversial book that crystallized the current debate over the value and purpose of a college education
When Professor X’s article that inspired this book was published in the Atlantic Monthly, a firestorm of controversy began as teachers across the country weighed in, some thanking him for his honesty and others pillorying him for his warts-and-all portrayal of the downside of universal college enrollment. The article was chosen by David Brooks for a Sidney Award, given to the best magazine articles every year, and kicked off an anticollege backlash.
Professor X is an adjunct professor of English literature and composition, a member of the poorly paid underclass who are now teaching the vast majority of our college courses. This is the story of what he learned on the front lines of America’s academic crisis.
A caustic expose of the deeply state of our colleges-America’s most expensive Ponzi scheme. What drives a former English major with a creative writing degree, several unpublished novels, three kids, and a straining marriage to take a job as a night teacher at a second-rate college? An unaffordable mortgage. As his house starts falling apart in every imaginable way, Professor X grabs first one, then two jobs teaching English 101 and 102-composition and literature-at a small private college and a local community college. He finds himself on the front lines of America’s academic crisis. It’s quite an education. This is the story of what he learns about his struggling pupils, about the college system-a business more bent on its own financial targets than the wellbeing of its students-about the classics he rediscovers, and about himself. Funny, wry, self-deprecating, and a provocative indictment of our failing schools, In the Basement of the Ivory Tower is both a brilliant academic satire and a poignant account of one teacher’s seismic frustration-and unlikely salvation-as his real estate woes catapult him into a subprime crisis of an altogether more human nature.
Professor X has been teaching English composition and literature for ten years at two small colleges somewhere in America.
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