James Higgins

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Jonathan Kozol's Children of the Revolution makes available to the people of the United States an account of a great human development which took place in Cuba almost 20 years ago: the near-elimination of illiteracy, and the continuing successful effort since then to see to it that virtually no Cubans lack a sixth-grade education. (p. 1)

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A weakness of Children of the Revolution, and one which often produces a tone of over-wrought sentimentality, is Kozol's tendency to intrude subjective judgments, shaped by his deep distrust of what goes on in U.S. schools, upon uniquely Cuban phenomena. In his defense, however, it is all too natural for a conscientious and even critical North American to be carried away by the warmth, candor and purposeful character of the Cubans.

Probably, then, a book such as this, telling a previously untold story against a general background of U.S. distortion and media silence about the achievements of the Cuban Revolution, is bound to be somewhat flawed. Still, Children of the Revolution should open channels for more profound refinements of Kozol's observations and insights…. When it happens he will no doubt be regarded as having done the work of a pioneer in formidable, unfamiliar territory. (p. 4)

James Higgins, "Cuba: Revolution and the Three R's," in Book World—The Washington Post (© 1978, The Washington Post), November 19, 1978, pp. 1, 4.

Kozol has again demonstrated his exceptional talents by producing an impressively readable and informative account of his personal research into the 1961 Cuban "Great Campaign" [in Children of the Revolution]. He blends fact and philosophy with a simple elegance usually absent among educators who write. Somehow it does not matter much that his personal beliefs and biases are apparent, for Kozol has laced an astonishing amount of historical information with his private perceptions of the people and places significant to the obvious success of the campaign. His enchantment with the revolution is as obvious as his message is clear…. Kozol has provided an excellent bibliography along with quantities of issues for classroom discussions at any level of sophistication in political philosophy, sociology, and education. Use it as a text, or as a reference source, but use it.

"Education: 'Children of the Revolution: A Yankee Teacher in the Cuban Schools',"...

(The entire section contains 547 words.)

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