Recommended Books

Actual Ethics, by James R. OttesonActual Ethics
James R. Otteson

A moral defense of the 'classical liberal' political tradition applied to today's issues, including wealth, poverty, public education, animal welfare, and affirmative action, showing how each can be plausibly addressed within the Kantian, Aristotelian, and classical liberal framework.

RebelFire 1.0: Out of the Gray Zone | Claire Wolfe & Aaron Zelman
RebelFire 1.0: Out of the Gray Zone
Claire Wolfe & Aaron Zelman

'Rebelfire is a dystopia set in an all-too-plausible near future, where the only thing that's gone wrong with the world is that every little thing you say, do, eat,RebelFire drink, or use in any way is monitored, surveilled and generally spied upon "for your own good." The chilling thing about the book's setting is that it is simply a projection of what we're already allowing "them" to do to us. There is no difference in form between Jeremy's world and ours. There's only a difference in degree.' (Joel Simon) More...

Separating School & State | Sheldon Richman
Separating School & State
How to Liberate America's Families

Sheldon Richman

'In Separating School & State, Sheldon Richman effectively and comprehensively analyzes the failures of public schooling in America and explains the ideas and ideology behind the case for compulsory education. But beyond a historical interpretation and a critical evaluation of the state of public education in America today, Mr. Richman offers a vision of what a fully privatized educational system might look like--and in what ways it would solve many, if not most, of the problems that parents, students, and even a sizable number of professional educators see as the fundamental shortcomings of the present system. This book moves the debate over education in America to a higher and more fruitful level of discussion.' More...

The Underground History of American Education | John Taylor Gatto
The Underground History of American Education
An Intimate Investigation into the Problem of Modern Schooling

John Taylor Gatto

'Through a series of related essays, Gatto puts together the "whole story of schooling"—the hidden agendas, the true believers who crusaded for their educational theories, the increasingly heavy hand of government, the dumbing down of curricula, elitism, racism, and other key factors that contribute to the evil monstrosity that many people view as "crucial to the survival of democracy in America."' (Cathy Duffy, from The Link) More...
Dumbing Us Down | John Taylor Gatto
Dumbing Us Down
The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

John Taylor Gatto

Tenth Anniversary Edition

'Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs in the industrial machine.' More...

The Worm in the Apple
How the Teacher Unions are Destroying American Education

Peter Brimelow

'In this devastating critique, Peter Brimelow exposes the teacher unions for what they are: a political and economic monopoly that is choking the education system, like the "trusts" that put a stranglehold on American business a hundred years ago. Until the unions are held accountable, and public schools opened up to market forces, no education reform, no matter how worthy, will succeed. It is time, Brimelow convincingly argues, to bust the Teacher Trust.' More...

Learning All the Time | John Holt
Learning All the Time
John Holt

'The late education reformer explains how children naturally acquire knowledge of the basics from everyday life at home, to show that learning is an innate human activity that need not be coerced.' More...
Teach Your Own | John Holt & Patrick Farenga
Teach Your Own
The John Holt Book of Homeschooling

John Holt & Patrick Farenga

'Today more than one and a half million children are being taught at home by their own parents. In this expanded edition of the book that helped launch the whole movement, Pat Farenga has distilled John Holt's timeless understanding of the ways children come to understand the world and added up-to-the-moment practical advice. Rather than proposing that parents turn their homes into miniature schools, Holt and Farenga demonstrate how ordinary parents can help children grow as social, active learners.' More...
Never Too Late | John Holt
Never Too Late
My Musical Life Story

John Holt

'Best known for his insight into the way children learn, John Holt was also an intrepid explorer of adult learning. At the age of 40, with no particular musical background, he took up the cello. His account of his passionate second career demolishes the myth that one must start an instrument (or a sport, or a language) in early childhood, and will inspire any reader who dreams of taking up a new skill.' More...
The Graves of Academe | Richard Mitchell
The Graves of Academe
Richard Mitchell

'Twenty-odd years ago, Richard Mitchell, a professor at New Jersey’s Glassboro State College, set out on a quixotic pursuit: the rescue of the English language and the minds of those attached to the world by it. Donning cape and mask as "The Underground Grammarian," Mitchell sallied forth upon his newsletter against the nonsense being spoken, written, and, indeed, encouraged by the educational establishment. What began as a vivid catalog of ignorance and inanity in the written work of professional educators and their hapless students soon became an enterprise of most noble moment: an investigation, via mordant wit and fierce intelligence, of "what we might usefully decide to mean by 'education.'" The results of Mitchell’s inquiries are as stimulating today as they were when first articulated. His project remains a telling explication of how, through writing, we discover thought and make knowledge. It is certainly the most drolly entertaining.' More...

More from Richard Mitchell:

Less Than Words
Can Say

Richard Mitchell

'Richard Mitchell is trying to stay awake. What's putting him, and all of us to sleep? "Insubstantial words, hazy and disembodied, [that] have fled utterly from things and ideas."
     'In Less Than Words Can Say, Mitchell wakes everybody up with the most devastating exposé to date of our rampant misuse of English. A Don Quixote--Savonarola might be more apt--of language, he wages war on its perverters, from teachers and deans to politicians and bureaucrats, whose consistently overblown prose offers us inanity in the guise of wisdom.' More...

The Leaning Tower
of Babel

Richard Mitchell

'These pieces, articulate, intelligent, often wildly funny, and frequently dazzling, spring from a splendid mind, tuned to just the right pitch, and fired with an angry passion. . . .' (From the Introduction by Thomas H. Middleton) More...

The Gift of Fire
Richard Mitchell

'True education is not knowing about, but knowing. It is the cure of folly and the curb of vice, and our only hope of escaping what Socrates once called 'the greatest peril of this our life'--not sickness or death, as most of us would say, but the failure to make sense about the better and the worse, and thus to choose the wrong one, thinking it the other.' More...
See also:
The Underground Grammarian Website
An authorized site dedicated to preserving the works of Richard Mitchell. Read Richard Mitchell's newsletters, books, and essays online!

The Teenage Liberation Handbook | Grace Llewellyn
The Teenage Liberation Handbook:
How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education

Grace Llewellyn

'Your life, time, and brain should belong to you, not an institution. This Handbook is for everyone who has ever gone to school, but it is especially a book for teenagers and people with teenagers in their lives. You'll read:
- good reasons to think about quitting school
- how to reclaim your natural ability to learn and teach yourself
- how to get your parents' support, keep your friends, and stay out of legal trouble
-how to design a personalized education you can get excited about
- how to go to college without going to high school
- how to find volunteer positions, apprenticeships, and other work opportunities
- how other unschooled teenagers live and learn.' More...

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible | Ken Schoolland
The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible
A Free Market Odyssey

Ken Schoolland

'The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey is a humorous fable about a young boy in a sailboat who is driven by a storm and shipwrecked on a remote Pacific Island. While marooned, Jonathan encounters people who explain the strange (statist) customs of the island.' More...

Capitalism for Kids
Growing Up to Be Your Own Boss

Karl Hess

'Hess advocates that children should be taught the benefits of the capitalist system as early as they can understand money and that others are willing to pay for what they have to offer. While the bulk of this volume is taken up with practical suggestions for work, several philosophical ideas are discussed.
     'Primary is individual choice over following the crowd. Throughout, the concept of independent thinking provides the impetus for decision making, even to the extent of disregarding the suggestions and ideas of this work. Few authors would be as consistent in their views as Hess when he tells his readers not to follow him, if that is their choice not to. He also believes that self-respect is more important than making a profit.
     'It is the individual ownership of property, regardless of whether that property is real or intellectual, voluntary associations of people, and freedom of choice as long as others are not denied the same freedom that defines capitalism." (Joseph Uphoff, Truth Seeker Journal, 1995) More...
The only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves.
E.M. Forster
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