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Straight Shooting Hardcover – 1989

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Hardcover, 1989

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harper & Row (1989)
  • ASIN: B000O62U62
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,495,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gerard Reed on March 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The notably brilliant, if contentious and controversial conservative, John Silber, President of Boston University, bound together a collection of his articles and speeches and published Straight Shooting: What's Wrong with America and How to Fix It (SF: Harper & Row, Publishers, c. 1989).
In part one he focuses on "first principles," then deals with "lessons in school" in part two, "lessons out of school" in part three. America, Silber believes, has begun a precipitous decline. Only a resurrection of some old-fashioned values, some rigid self-discipline, can save us as a nation.
"We are beset by barbarians who have emerged within the walls of our own society, the "vertical" barbarians described more than sixty years ago by Ortega y Gasset" (p. 305). We courageously "face reality" and deal with the fact "that the degenerate society consumed in pleasure-seeking will not survive . . . that the society that will not defend its freedom will lose it . . . that a society that consumes more than it produces will go bankrupt . . . " (p. 10).
On the front line in this struggle are America's school teachers. Theirs is the task to recover some firm foundations for our culture. Unfortunately, they have very little possibility of succeeding. They have little philosophical or theological grounding, so, generally speaking, "What is being taught" in this nation's schools "is nihilism sweetened with hedonism" (p. 69). And the odds against them truly instilling lasting values are awesome, for TV basically educates America's young, and the tube's message hardly challenges them to strive for excellence or forego immediate pleasures for long-term achievement!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert F. Loughridge on November 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Although parts of this book are no longer topical (published 1989), there are some enduring truths here. Dr. Silber is a knowledgeable critic of America's educational structure, and advocates revision from age 3 (educational pre-school) through college (teach substantive subject material to Ed students, not touchy feely soft subjects).
Silber cites more sources, with less pedantry, than any writer I can recall. Pithy, relevant, readable.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dr. W. G. Covington, Jr. on March 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was torn whether to give this book 4 or 3 stars because parts of it are brilliant, while other parts break down in logic. His "predictions" for the future were not exactly on target. Remember this was written in 1989. What caused me to go with 4 stars was the sections that are relevant beyond the date of original publication for the most part, although I don't always agree with him on those issues either.

One of the strongest arguments he makes is in his chapter, "the litigious society," where he cites statistics that backup his case that the legal profession is hindering productivity in this nation as a whole. Lawyers have to generate business to continue to exist, resulting in myriad ridiculous lawsuits. "The proliferation of lawyers in the United States is often compared to the situation in Japan, where the total number of lawyers is smaller than the number we graduate from law school each year," he writes. He doesn't just describe the problem, but offers a realistic solution.

For the most part, his chapter on the ethics of war is solid. Here again, however, I don't agree with every position he holds, however. His argument on abortion is flawed. His analysis of foreign policy has proven to be inaccurate by things that have taken place since his book was written. In spite of all these "misses," he still has some valid points to make in the book as a whole.

Another policy issue that is strong in the book is in the financing of higher education. I don't see why this has never been followed up on in Congress. It sounds feasible. His discussion on tenure was an epiphany for me. In essence he says academe is not the only part of society where it's granted, i.e., that it is implicitely given in other fields. It just isn't recognized as such. Overall this book will make you think.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was written about 25 years ago but is very relevant today as it debunks some popular socialist myths, particularly regarding the origin, purpose and consequences of the Minimum Wage, welfare programs etc. Most enlightening - pages 189 - 191.
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