Alexander Nazaryan, a journalist and former teacher, has written a sharp, intelligent, and kind review of my book for the Times Arts section, for which I am extremely grateful:
Ms. Goldstein’s book is meticulously fair and disarmingly balanced, serving up historical commentary instead of a searing philippic. A hate-read is nigh impossible. (Trust me, I tried.) … The book skips nimbly from history to on-the-ground reporting to policy prescription, never falling on its face. If I were still teaching, I’d leave my tattered copy by the sputtering Xerox machine. I’d also recommend it to the average citizen who wants to know why Robert can’t read, and Allison can’t add.
One of the adventures of writing a work of history was knowing that because the past is so rich and complex, people from across the political spectrum would find, within the book, evidence to bolster their own conclusions. Nazaryan focused in his essay on the shortcomings of teachers unions, which I do cover honestly in the book. Ultimately, however, I think my take on the unions is far more sympathetic than Nazaryan suggests. (It is especially important to realize that the unions were supporters, not opponents, of school desegregation.) I hope you will buy the book and draw your own conclusions!