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The Gift of Fire: With Wit and Daring, the Underground Grammarian Examines Why We Can't Think Hardcover – August, 1987


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/A Fireside Book; First Edition edition (August 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671643274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671643270
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,032,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Mitchell, author of Less Than Words Can Say (Little, 1979) and editor/publisher of the Undergroud Grammarian, here analyzes the link between thought and moral action. In a series of chatty but superbly written essays, he argues that we must each accept responsibility for the development of our own sense of reason and judgment; we cannot leave it to some organic entity called "humanity." In this, Mitchell follows a path trodden by such luminaries as Kierkegaard, Gabriel Marcel, and Sartre. This is the way philosophy should be written: witty, substantial, and engaging. By all means read the title essay, with its send-up of intelligence tests. Highly recommended. Terry Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
One of the joys of reading is finding an out of print book or an author you've never heard of, and having the book change your life. Richard Mitchell's books are clear, hilarious, fascinating critiques of the decline and fall of Western Civilization. I first found Mitchell's Graves of Academe by accident in the library. I quickly read all his books, including The Gift of Fire, which is excellent. The latter is the only one I have not come to own through used books stores and sales. Unfortunately it is also the most moving and important and the one I most often want to lend out or quote to my students. I am always amazed when I reread Mitchell that, despite years of teaching, I had never heard of him. On the other hand, his ideas and advice are toxic to the educational extablishment and all hypocritical and unthinking aspects of our society, and I can understand why education schools everywhere would eschew him. If I had to recommend three authors to an aspiring teacher, they would be Mitchell, Kozol and Postman, in that order. I normally do not submit reviews, but anything to get this and other of Mitchell's books into other hands (or reprinted) is worth it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Roberts VINE VOICE on June 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
I've never read a book quite like this one. It manages to be scholarly but entertaining, educational but entertaining and . . . well, just plan good, cover to cover.
My favourite portion of the book covers Jesus' confrontation with the teachers of the law concerning a woman found in adultery. The author is straightforward in his approach to the situation and, by not bogging himself down with needless pedagogy and epistemology, shows the simple wisom of Jesus and how it can apply to us.
We all should read this.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Richard Mitchell (aka The Underground Grammarian)examines what it means to be a thinking person. Not a how-to book, but a study of the relationship of morality, education and thought, "The Gift of Fire" considers the human experience from the pre-historic cave painters to slavery and cannibalism to nuclear war and child-rearing. With subtle wit and brilliant clarity, Mitchell uses stories as diverse as the parable of the stoning of the adulterous woman to his own experiences in a toll booth to show the role of Reason in living a satisfying life. A tour de force! If you can find a copy, it's a must read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By david a schmaltz on August 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book describes real learning. I was moved and shocked by his acknowledgement that any student can become Socretes and that the real purpose of learning is not to develop some obedient dog of a skill, but rather to develop a relationship with a life-long nagging counselor.
I strongly recommend this book- for the clarity and beauty of the prose and for the equal beauty of the ideas. Thinking doesn't get much clearer or more delightful than this.
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