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Synopsis

In this gem of a book, scholar and wit Kenneth Lasson takes on all manner of excesses in the Ivory Tower which, from his insider's viewpoint, constitute little less than a full-scale assault on American values and mores. The ideological warfare is being waged by a slew of vociferous academicians whose predominance is manifested by stifling academic bureaucracies, radical feminist and deconstructionist faculties, and overbearing speech and conduct codes-all in invidious pursuit of narrow but pervasive political agendas. Lasson uses his sharply pointed pen to skewer both the powerful and the petty, from perpetually outraged law professors and would-be literati to ethnic hatemongers with tenure. Colleges and universities, Lasson reminds us, are not intellectual playgrounds, but training places for future social, political, and artistic leaders-so what's said and not said on those campuses have a far-reaching effect on every one of us. We depend on academic institutions to take our best and brightest and nurture them to think creatively and independently. What's happening, however, is often just the opposite: the purposeful establishment of anti-establishment bias, a closely-guarded breeding ground in which students and professors are too intimidated to challenge extremist ideas. Lasson argues that there is nothing wrong with liberal and multi-cultural approaches to education, so long as they are presented fairly and in a broadly inclusive context. In what is the only truly funny scholarly book to hit the shelves. Trembling in the Ivory Tower ponders the questions many of us should be asking, and supplies the answers we should be demanding: Why have universities apparently abandoned the concept of vigorous debate in an open marketplace of ideas? Why has no university speech or conduct code yet survived a constitutional challenge? Why are senior professors increasingly being charged with creating "hostile environments" despite emerging victorious whenever they challenge their arbitrary punishments in court? In an age of easy catch phrases, media hype, and watered down scholarship, Trembling in the Ivory Tower is a welcome breath of fresh air that pays homage to original, not merely popular, thought.

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