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Fixing Columbine: The Challenge to American…

Fixing Columbine: The Challenge to American Liberalism

by Doriane Lambelet Coleman

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0890891923, Hardcover)

On April 20, 1999, the United States was shocked to witness the horrific slaughter of twelve high-school students and a teacher by two other students who also took their own lives at Columbine High School in the wealthy Denver suburb of Littleton, Colorado. This book explores the meaning of the Columbine tragedy, as well as the nature and causes of the larger epidemic of youth dysfunction that it has come to symbolize. This epidemic is characterized by extraordinary numbers — it affects between 15 and 25 million American children — and by its manifestations, including a childhood suicide rate that by some estimates has risen 700 percent since 1960, as well as by equally pervasive and alarming increases in rates of violent behavior, depression, and anxiety. Adopting a comparative perspective, Doriane Lambelet Coleman demonstrates that this phenomenon is unique to the United States and to this period in the country's history. She traces its origins to what she calls "a revolutionary disengagement from our children, particularly from their irreducible need for involved parenting, positive peer relationships, and otherwise healthy real and virtual environments."

These conclusions provide the springboard for Coleman's insightful discussion of how American law and political theory, with their rigidly narrow focus on individual liberty have contributed to the creation of the epidemic, and stand as largely immutable obstacles to any comprehensive and immediate cure. Coleman concludes with the provocative suggestion that the public schools, with their historically communitarian focus on teaching the children both personally rewarding and externally responsible values, might provide a partial solution, particularly if the necessary curriculum reform were federalized to assure that all American children could benefit from its protections.

"This bold and thought-provoking book lets no one — parents, schools, government, business, or the media — off the hook in tracing the sources of childhood violence, suicide and depression in America. But Doriane Coleman also offers concrete solutions, grounded in American history and law. Her call for a national commitment to moral and civic education deserves a wide public hearing." — Elizabeth Kiss, Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.

"Fixing Columbine is an ambitious and important book. Doriane Coleman does a magnificent job of integrating her compelling narrative on the modern state of American childhood with a sophisticated and persuasive argument for policy and legal reform." — Rodney A. Smolla, Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law, and author of Free Speech in an Open Society and Deliberate Intent: A Lawyer Tells the True Story of Murder by the Book.

"Whether you agree with Doriane Coleman's conclusions or not, Fixing Columbine is a provocative and important book — an articulate and compelling call for a renewed collective commitment to nurturing our children's character and well being." — Karen E. Bohlin, executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character at Boston University and co-author with Kevin Ryan of Building Character in Schools: Practical Ways to Bring Moral Instruction to Life.

"Coleman has done an excellent job of relating the big picture of American political culture and ideology to the small picture of day to day family life. At a time when too many simplistic answers are offered and accepted, she provokes a deeper analysis." — James Garbarino, Co-Director of the Family Life Development Center and Professor of Human Development at Cornell University, and author of Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them, and Parents Under Siege: Why You Are the Solution, Not The Problem, In Your Child's Life.

"Everyone talks about Columbine and offers seat-of-the-pants analyses. What is needed is an account of the matter grounded in a thorough knowledge of the many contexts it touches. Doriane Coleman has written that book. She is at once passionate and dispassionate, and when you finish reading Fixing Columbine you know not only that you should care but why you should care." — Stanley Fish, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His most recent book is How Milton Works.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:15 -0400)

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