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The Wave by Todd Strasser

The Wave (1981)

by Todd Strasser

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English (33)  French (5)  German (3)  Spanish (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Set in a California Palo Alto high school in 1969, a high school history class is watching a film on Nazi's and the images of the monstrocities they did. A student asks why the Germans didn't do anything to stop the Nazi's from doing all of the horrific things they did.
The teacher couldn't answer this question.
This student was very disturbed by the images she saw on the film shown in class and at lunch her boyfriend told her to let it go, it was so long ago and it couldn't happen again.
The teacher did a lot of reading that night and decided to try an experiment to just last one class period. "The movement" took on a life of its own. Even the class creep/loser took on a new persona and cleaned up his act and got involved. Then a symbol was created and mottos were created that the group chanted. At first it started out positive, but then people started to be bullies and force people others into group. It was supposed to eradicate the cliques and make everyone equal, but then “The Wave” as the group was named started to feel more special than the students not involved.
As things started to get dangerous the parents were contacting the principal and the teacher had to end it immediately. He had his own adjustments of sudden obedience from the students and letting that go.
Phenomenal story and scary too!
( )
  VhartPowers | Dec 27, 2018 |
This is the novelization of a true story about a History teacher's social experiment and its consequences. Taking nazi Germany's authoritarian regime as the ground in which to base his experiment, the teacher leads the students from uniformity (and the people's natural tendency to follow and be part of a group) to the extremes of segregation of the ones who do not belong. The movement's name is called the 'Wave'. The main question being 'how could people in Germany have followed and encouraged Hitler's regime?', there is no straight answer but that the sociological peer pressures and wanting to be part of a selected community are enough to lead to extremes. Some students are excluded from the Wave, aggressivity grows and incidents are proving the teacher right and his position at the school is in jeopardy. Without giving any spoilers, the book should be part of any school's curriculum, if only to get students to reflect on the evils of social apathy in the face of an authoritarian regime and that to blindly follow doesn't require much efforts - the damages are the exclusion of 'others', or worse. The face of evil can indeed be found among us, family or neighbours, people we think are our friends too. The roots of exclusion could be simple jealousy or wanting to dominate with a sense of entitlement. This is a great read, especially for high school students and as an introduction to the study of peer pressure. ( )
  soniaandree | Feb 21, 2018 |
I read a copy of this I bought at a library book sale, because I remember my BookCrossing friend, ResQgeek, speaking well of it at a book festival. After finishing it, I discovered a copy of this book has been on my BookCrossing bookcase UNJOURNALED for years now! Oh no! I'm glad to have finally read it so I can pass it on.

This is a novelization of a teleplay based on a short story based on a real event. I'm sure somewhere in there details got excluded or overdramatized. But I certainly don't have any trouble believing some version of this did in fact take place in a high school (knowing so well the way students behave and feel). To watch these confused and vulnerable students get swept up into a group proporting to make them better and do good things for others and then to have that snowball into something less than healthy certainly makes it easier to understand how the Hitler Youth gained such popularity. Society gets dangerous when people stop questioning; I'm just glad the teacher was able to stop it before this social experiment got even further out of control, in this case.

I felt the writing was a little simplistic and didn't really get to the core of emotions for each of the characters--teacher or students. I would also have liked more points of view, such as that of Robert Billings (who changed so dramatically and had others' opinions about him change as well) or of the students who get victimized by members of The Wave, not because the story needed it but because it would be nice to get into their heads as well.

I did enjoy the book, and it gave me a lot to think about.

Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: A book you got from a used book sale ( )
  katekintail | Jun 3, 2017 |
I simply loved how the teacher became just as absorbed in the madness as his students. But I felt that it ended too abruptly, I wanted the know what the students went through after 'The Wave' disbanded and the psychological issues they then had to face. ( )
  GeekyLibraryGirl | Jul 28, 2016 |
"In spring 1967, in Palo Alto, California, history teacher Ron Jones conducted an experiment with his class of 15-year-olds to sample the experience of the attraction and rise of the Nazis in Germany before World War II. In a matter of days the experiment began to get out of control, as those attracted to the movement became aggressive zealots and the rigid rules invited confusion and chaos... The original experiment was named "The Third Wave" and occurred at Cubberley Senior High School in Palo Alto, California, in March/April 1967. Teacher Ron Jones wrote a short story about the experience that was published in spring 1976. This was followed by a TV movie ("The Wave") by famed producer Norman Lear on October 4, 1981. The subsequent 1981 book "The Wave" is a novelization of the Lear movie, and was written by Todd Strasser (aka Morton Rhue)." http://www.thewavehome.com/

I remembered seeing a movie/documentary about this at school in the 1980s so when my daughter brought 'The Wave' home from school it sounded familiar so I read the book. I thought it was well done, a book that teens could get through relatively quickly whilst understanding the concepts and deepening their understanding of Nazi Germany. ( )
  DebbieMcCauley | May 26, 2016 |
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Laurie Sanders sat in the publications office at Gordon High School chewing on the end of a Bic pen. She was a pretty girl with short light-brown hair and an almost perpetual smile that only disappeared when she was upset or chewing on Bic pens. Lately, she'd been chewing on a lot of pens. In fact, there wasn't a single pen or pencil in her pocketbook that wasn't worn down on the butt end from nervous gnawing. Still, it beat smoking.
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Book description
Laurie isn't sure what to make of 'The Wave'. It had begun as a simple history experiment to liven up their World War II studies and had become a craze that was taking over their lives. Laurie's classmates were changing from normal teenagers into chanting, saluting fanatics. 'The Wave' was sweeping through the school - and it was out of control. Laurie's friends scoff at her warnings but she knows she must make them see what they have become before it's too late. Based on a nightmarish true episode in a Californian high school.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440993717, Paperback)

The Wave is based on a true incident that occured in a high school history class in Palo Alto, California, in 1969.

The powerful forces of group pressure that pervaded many historic movements such as Nazism are recreated in the classroom when history teacher Burt Ross introduces a "new" system to his students. And before long "The Wave," with its rules of "strength through discipline, community, and action, " sweeps from the classroom through the entire school. And as most of the students join the movement, Laurie Saunders and David Collins recognize the frightening momentum of "The Wave" and realize they must stop it before it's too late.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:14 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When history teacher Ben Ross starts a classroom experiment, with the intention of showing students the processes behind social control in Nazi Germany, things get out of hand and the power of group pressure becomes a frightening reality.

» see all 5 descriptions

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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