The Wave, by Todd Strasser, aka Morton Rhue, is a novel that is set in the Spring of 1969 at Gordon High School in California. The novel is a fictionalized account of an actual classroom experiment that was done at Ellwood P. Cubberly High School, Palo Alto, California. In the novel, the experiment is created when Ben, the history teacher, has difficulty explaining how and why the Nazis were able to so easily and quickly rise to power in 1930's Germany. Ben decides to create a social experiment to help the students learn how easily one can ignore their own morals and idly, or actively, allow a genocidal group to rise to power. The experiment goes horribly awry as students become dangerously involved in the experiment, called "The Wave."
The story takes place at Gordon High School in 1969 and is a fictionalized account of what happened at a real high school in California.
The book centers on history teacher Ben Ross and his attempts to explain what it was like to live in Nazi Germany. Frustrated at his own inability to explain why the Germans allowed Hitler and the Nazi party to rise to power and how those same Germans disregarded the genocide and other atrocities they knew to be against their own values and beliefs, Ben Ross creates an experiment to allow students to experience a similar situation first hand. The experiment backfires and the movement comes to be known as The Wave.