Jonathan Kozol Robert B. Nordberg

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Robert B. Nordberg

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

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"Free Schools" is a sort of handbook for educational revolutionaries—a curiously unrevolutionary one. Mr. Kozol, having been through some of the organizational and administrative side of life, now realizes that somebody has to direct, that decisions have to be made, that there are limits to what can be done. He often sounds quite annoyed with the intemperate zeal of some of his fellow reformers. (p. 31)

Books on organizing and administering a revolution can't be as interesting as books on the need for one, and "Free Schools" is not spellbinding. Its style is prosaic, business-like. If it sacrifices something in excitement, it gains in its responsible tone. Oh, there are a few of the filthy words necessary to the respectablity of a revolutionary book, but Mr. Kozol's heart doesn't seem to be in it when he dutifully tosses them in. The book's organization for its purposes is commendable as are, generally, its contents and style. The basic premise of a handbook for administering a revolution seems somewhat awkward. Still, in this computerized age, why not? (p. 32)

Robert B. Nordberg, "'Free Schools'," in Best Sellers (copyright 1972, by the University of Scranton), Vol. 32, No. 2, August 15, 1972, pp. 31-2.