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Reforming Our Universities: The Campaign For An Academic Bill Of Rights Hardcover – August 31, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A Modest Proposal to Fight Liberal Intolerance on College Campuses:
An Academic Bill of Rights

For far too long our colleges and universities have been allowed to ignore their chartered responsibilities to educate rather than indoctrinate.
Instead of providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas, they intimidate students into ideological submission to leftist professors; rather than pursuing meaningful research, they proselytize for radical causes.

In this important new book, New York Times bestselling author David Horowitz tells the dramatic story of his ongoing campaign for an Academic Bill of Rights to protect students who want to think for themselves and refuse to conform to radical orthodoxies.

As Horowitz shows, despite his pleas for tolerance of diverging points of view, his modest proposal that universities should respect intellectual diversity has been greeted with hateful hysteria, protests, and even violence—exposing, in the process, how thoroughly rotten, corrupt, and radical higher education has truly become.

Horowitz means to recall higher education to its better self, to become—as it once was—a place where students and teachers were not afraid to question opinions, create their own, and engage in Socratic dialogue. Horowitz remembers when the university was exactly that, and he acknowledges his own part in helping to tear it down. And now he wants to undo the damage and make our colleges and universities once again centers of learning and free

Reforming Our Universities just might be David Horowitz's most important book.

From the Back Cover

"No one has been more important to the cause of academic freedom in America than David Horowitz. Reforming Our Universities is not only a must read for those concerned about left–wing bias on campus; it is the story of how a small group of determined people, armed with the truth, can stand up to powerful, entrenched interests and make a difference."
Newt Gingrich, New York Times bestselling author of To Save America

"This impassioned rehearsal of David Horowitz's efforts to have the Academic Bill of Rights adopted by states and universities will provoke counter–narratives by those who are on the other side (as I sometimes am) of the issues he raises. If so, all to the good; it is exactly what Horowitz wants, a dialogue on these questions, and it is a dialogue we should have."
Stanley Fish, Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor and professor of law at Florida International University

Reforming Our Universities is the story of one man's efforts to restore educational principles to academic classrooms, and why he failed. It exposes the voices inside the educational establishment who are opposed to change and indifferent to principle, and explains why liberal arts colleges are becoming indoctrination centers for partisan interests and political sects. An indispensible book."
Candace de Russy, former trustee, State University of New York

"David Horowitz is a national treasure. In his courage, passion, and perseverance he has done more than anyone to expose the rottenness—moral and political as well as intellectual—that has infected the heart of American higher education. In this explosive new book, he adds treatment to diagnosis, providing concrete, workable strategies to achieve what many of us had given up as hopeless: reclaiming the university. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of American culture."
Roger Kimball, author of Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Our Higher Education

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596986379
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596986374
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,260,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Horowitz grew up a "red diaper baby" in a communist community in Sunnyside, Queens. He studied literature at Columbia, taking classes from Lionel Trilling, and became a "new leftist" during the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. He did his graduate work in Chinese and English at the University of California, arriving in Berkeley in the fall of 1959. At Berkeley, he was a member of a group of radicals who in 1960 published one of the first New Left magazines, Root and Branch. In 1962 he published the first manifesto of the New Left, a book titled, Student, which described the decade's first demonstrations.

Horowitz went to Sweden in the fall of 1962 where he began writing The Free World Colossus, his most influential leftist book. In the fall of 1963 he moved to England where he went to work for the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation and became a protege of the Polish Marxist biographer of Trotsky, Issac Deutscher, and Ralph Miliband, an English Marxist whose sons went on to become leaders of the British Labour Party. While in England Horowitz also wrote Shakespeare: An Existential View, which was published by Tavistock Books. Under the influence of Deutscher, he also wrote Empire and Revolution: A Radical Interpretation of Contemporary History, 1969.

In 1967, Horowitz returned to the U.S. to join the staff of Ramparts Magazine, which had become a major cultural influence on the left. In 1969 he and Peter Collier, who became his lifelong friend and collaborator, took over the editorship of the magazine. Collier and Horowitz left Ramparts in 1973 to write three best selling dynastic biographies: The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (1976); The Kennedys: An American Dream (1984); and The Fords: An American Epic (1987).

During these years Horowitz wrote two other books, The Fate of Midas, a collection of his Marxist essays and The First Frontier, a book about the creation of the United States. Following the murder of his friend Betty van Patter by the Black Panther Party in December 1972 and the victory of the Communists in Indo-China, which led to the slaughter of millions of Asians, Horowitz and Collier had second thoughts about their former comrades and commitments. In 1985 they published a cover story in the Washington Post called "Lefties for Reagan," announcing their new politics and organized a Second Thoughts Conference in Washington composed of former radicals. Four years later they published a book of the articles they had written about their new perspective and themovement they had left which they called Destructive Generation.

In 1997, Horowitz published a memoir, Radical Son(1996), about his journey from the left. George Gilder hailed it as "the first great autobiography of his generation," and others compared the book to Whittaker Chambers' Witness.
In 1988, Horowitz and Collier created The Center for the Study of Popular Culture (the name was changed in 2006 to the David Horowitz Freedom Center) -- to create a platform for his campaigns against the Left and its anti-American agendas. The DHFC is currently supported by over 100,000 individual contributors and publishes, which features articles on "the war at home and abroad," and receives approximately a million visitors per month. In 1992, Collier and Horowitz launched Heterodoxy, a print journal which confronted the phenomenon of "political correctness" focusing on the world of academia for the next ten years. In the same year he and film writer Lionel Chewynd created the "Wednesday Morning Club," the first sustained conservative presence in Hollywood in a generation. In 1996 Horowitz created the Restoration Weekend, which for the next two decades feature gatherings of leading conservative political, media and intellectual figures. In 2005 Horowitz created the website,, an online encyclopedia of the political left, which has influenced the works of a generation of conservative journalists and authors.

With the support of the Center, Horowitz continued his writing about the nature and consequences of radical politics, writing more than a dozen books, including The Politics of Bad Faith (2000), Hating Whitey & Other Progressive Causes (2000), Left Illusions (2003), and The Party of Defeat (2008). His Art of Political War (2000) was described by Bush White House political strategist Karl Rove as "the perfect guide to winning on the political battlefield." In 2004 he published Unholy Alliance, which was the first book about the tacit alliance between Islamo-fascists in the Middle East and secular radicals in the west.

Horowitz has devoted much of his attention over the past several years to the radicalization of the American university. In 2001 he conducted a national campaign on American campuses to oppose reparations for slavery 137 years after the fact as divisive and racist, since the since there were no longer any living slaves and reparations were to be paid and received on the basis of skin color). His book Uncivil Wars (2001) describes the campaign and was the first in a series of five books he would write about the state of higher education.

In 2003, he launched an academic freedom campaign to return the American university to traditional principles of open inquiry and to halt indoctrination in the classroom. To further these goals he devised an Academic Bill of Rights to ensure students access to more than one side of controversial issues and to protect their academic freedom. In 2006, Horowitz published The Professors (2006), a study of the political abuse of college classrooms. Indoctrination U., which followed in 2008, documented the controversies this book and his campaign had created. In 2009, he co-authored One Party Classroom with Jacob Laksin, a study of more than 150 college curricula designed as courses of indoctrination. In 2010, he published Reforming Our Universities, providing a detailed account of the entire campaign.

Along with these titles Horowitz wrote two philosophical meditations/memoirs on mortality, The End of Time (2005) and A Point in Time (2011), which summed up the themes of his life. A Cracking of the Heart (2009) is a poignant memoir of his daughter Sarah which explores these themes as well.
Many have commented on the lyrical style of these memoirs. The literary critic Stanley Fish, a political liberal, has described The End of Time as "Beautifully written, unflinching in its contemplation of the abyss, and yet finally hopeful in its acceptance of human finitude."

In 2013 Horowitz began publishing a ten volume series of his collected journalistic writings and essays under the general title The Black Book of The American Left. The first volume, My Life & Times, was published in 2013; the second, Progressives, in 2014. The Black Book is filled with character and event--with profiles of radicals he knew (ranging from Huey Newton to Billy Ayers), analysis of the nature of progressivism, and running accounts of his efforts to oppose it. When completed, The Black Book will be a unique chronicle of the political wars between left and right as seen by an observer who has made a significant impact on both sides of the during his political and literary careers.

Cultural critic Camille Paglia has said of David Horowitz: "I respect the astute and rigorously unsentimental David Horowitz as one of America's most original and courageous political analysts. . . . I think that, a century from now, cultural historians will find David Horowitz's spiritual and political odyssey paradigmatic for our time."

Norman Podhoretz, former editor of Commentary magazine, says of Horowitz: "David Horowitz is hated by the Left because he is not only an apostate but has been even more relentless and aggressive in attacking his former political allies than some of us who preceded him in what I once called 'breaking ranks' with that world. He has also taken the polemical and organizational techniques he learned in his days on the left, and figured out how to use them against the Left, whose vulnerabilities he knows in his bones."

A full bibliography of Horowitz's writings is available at:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dr. P. D. FISHER on September 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The author not only uses anecdotes but backs them up with statistics re the one-sided indoctrination extant on many campuses. This is not just argument but conclusion based upon many abuses in so-called humanities and "studies" depts.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Not to discount the statistics and history behind the effort in this book, as described more in depth by other reviewers, I found the message of the struggle itself to be very important. In a time when we are struggling in just about every area of our culture, Horowitz is inspirational. Many people would have given up this fight long before. He makes progress, they knock it down or disregard it, and he takes a fresh approach over and over. If we all had this kind of dedication, our country would not be in the mess it is now. I hope readers will learn from this and keep fighting the good fight.
We also have to make others aware of just how vital it is for students to be exposed to many viewpoints rather than indoctrinated. His fight here should be everyone's fight. The brainwashed students of today are the (potentially) Marxist power players of tomorrow.
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27 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Paul Dueweke on August 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My original review begins below with "A GREAT BOOK. . ." This introduction was added September 10.

In that earlier review of "Reforming Our Universities", I went directly to what I perceive as some shortcomings of this book because I expected to see an abundance of highly positive reviews. To my surprise, those positive reviews have not yet materialized in over two weeks since my first review. So here is my overview of what I expected to see written but has not yet appeared.

The problem articulated in this book is that Academic America, at least in the liberal arts, has failed us in the following ways: 1) it has rejected its traditional mission of providing a fact-based education to its students, 2) it has stacked its faculties overwhelmingly with collectivists from the political left, and 3) it has failed to tolerate dissent from the politically correct views of its leftist faculties by its students or by visiting scholars. In addition, Horowitz maintains that other departments than liberal arts have capitulated or worse by refusing to criticize this clear divergence of academia from the traditions of true liberal education.

Horowitz's writing is clear and concise. He does not denigrate or attack those in disagreement with him as apparently they have repeatedly done to him during many of his campus visits. The problem with academia that he discusses is critically important to the survival of America as a constitutional republic. He understands the gravity of this threat and treats it with honesty and dignity. Horowitz has dedicated his life to solving this and other problems foisted on Americans by fuzzy-thinking, politically correct, collectivist, and truly un-liberal people in our society.
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Format: Hardcover
David Horowitz has been waging a rather lonely battle pushing an "Academic Bill of Rights" which does its best to protect students from experiencing one-sided political indoctrination in the classroom. For example, the notion that gender differences between men and women is a social construction is an article of faith in women and gender studies programs. Yet, it is not established in biology. However, teaching students the notion of social construction as established fact is not considered, by these academics, to be indoctrination. They do not feel the slightest obligation to bring in opposing points of view or information from other disciplines that might call their cherished notions into question.

This book is an account of the struggles Horowitz has had, the attacks and calumnies his opponents have cast upon him, and the few successes his efforts have had. I think it is a book worth reading because I believe so strongly in the need to rid our schools and universities of these political workshops masquerading as classes and academic disciplines.

You might also be interested in these related book on this topic from Horowitz:
One-Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America's Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine Our Democracy

Indoctrination U: The Lefts War Against Academic Freedom

One-Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America's Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine Our Democracy

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Guydee on October 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In Indianapolis, at IUPUI, a janitor was found guilty of racial harassment from reading a LIBRARY BOOK. The book was "Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan." It was an anti-Klan book. This sounds like a paranoid fantasy doesn't it? Absolutely true. It was only the intervention of the ACLU that stopped this outrage.
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