Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Review Mondays

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The trouble with boys: A surprising report card on our sons, their problems at school, and what parents and educators must do
by Peg Tyre

Book Review by
Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

This 311-page book expands the cover story Tyre, a senior writer for Newsweek, wrote in 2006 entitled, “The Boy Crisis.” The awards she has received, a Pulitzer Prize, a Clarion Award, and a National Education Writers Association Award, almost guarantee a well-written book, and her book does not disappoint. About the book, Michael Thompson, author of the NY Times bestselling book, Raising Cain, wrote, “passionate, powerful and persuasive.” This is truly an outstanding book. With ten pages of notes at the back of the book, Tyre offers a well-researched argument. She spends a great deal of time chronicling the different ways that the problem (underachieving boys) develops, her language is engaging and accessible, the ideas, stories, facts, figures, and anecdotes (she has two boys of her own) are fascinating and involving, and the conclusions she reaches are startling. One of Tyre’s conclusions is that just as we rallied in the 90s to help girls catch up to boys in math and science, we need to do the same for boys in reading and writing. Although there may be only a few new insights teachers may be able to use, the information here for parents is valuable and worthwhile. This is a very good book.

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The White House Boys: An American Tragedy
by Roger Dean Kiser

Book Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Kiser’s 171-page book (with 7 additional appendices) of 31 chapters divided into two parts is a quick read, to be sure. The first part, “Haunting Recollections,” (23 chapters), and the second part, “The Child Now Speaks as a Man,” (8 chapters) — along with close to 20 black-and-white pictures) make up this compact, readable, true story. It is not (with an emphasis on NOT) a pleasant read. For example, Kiser writes, “From birth to age sixteen, I had been abandoned, sexually molested, beaten, cursed, and discarded as an unnecessary item. I had been taught and made to feel that I was nothing more than a worthless piece of shit. For the next fifty years, it was very difficult for me to find anything decent to think, or say, about humankind. . . . It was only through my grandchildren that I cam to realize what the term ‘love’ meant and what a wonderful feeling it was to share such a marvelous thing with my fellowman. Even to this day, I am amazed that it took nothing more than several small, innocent children to save me.” This is truly an incredible story and, too, an excruciating indictment of those in charge and those who administered the abuses and the atrocities young boys received at the Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna during the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the young boys who did not survive the torture are buried in the fields and swamplands surrounding the School. In this shocking recollection, Kiser recalls his verbal, sexual, and physical abuse, and his descriptions will leave an indelible impression. It is difficult reading (because of the vivid images he creates), but it is truly a must read.


Through our reading, researching, and writing, And Then Some Publishing (and our extended family of readers) mine volumes of books representing a wide variety of tastes. We use the books in our writing, test and try suggested techniques, and we read for enjoyment as well. We wouldn't spend the time reviewing the books if we didn't get something out of it. Read more reviews on other fantastic books at our website.

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