A professor at Yale Law School for thirty-eight years, he has a happy marriage and four children. He swims a mile every day and is an expert fisherman with rod and spear. He lives in an impeccably decorated house worthy of Architectural Digest. In his desk drawers, the pencils and paper clips are perfectly aligned.

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Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? A New York Times Editors' Choice The former dean of Yale Law School argues that the feverish egalitarianism gripping college campuses today is out of place at institutions whose job is to prepare citizens to live in a vibrant democracy. In his tenure at Yale, Anthony Kronman has watched students march across campus to protest the names of buildings and seen colleagues resign over emails about Halloween costumes.

He is no stranger to recent confrontations at American universities. But where many see only the suppression of free speech, the babying of students, and the drive to bury the imperfect parts of our history, Kronman recognizes in these on-campus clashes a threat to our democracy. As Kronman argues in The Assault on American Excellence , the founders of our nation learned over three centuries ago that in order for this country to have a robust democratic government, its citizens have to be trained to have tough skins, to make up their own minds, and to win arguments not on the basis of emotion but because their side is closer to the truth.

In other words, to prepare people to choose good leaders, you need to turn them into smart fighters, people who can take hits and think clearly so they're not manipulated by demagogues.

Kronman is the first to tie today's campus debates back to the history of American values, drawing on luminaries like Alexis de Tocqueville and John Adams to show how these modern controversies threaten the best of our intellectual traditions. His tone is warm and optimistic, that of a humanist and a lover of the humanities who is passionate about educating students capable of living up to the demands of a thriving democracy.

Incisive and wise, The Assault on American Excellence makes the radical argument that to graduate as good citizens, college students have to be tested in a system that isn't wholly focused on being good to them. Read more Read less. Frequently bought together. Add all three to Cart. One of these items is shipped sooner than the other. Show details. Education's End by Anthony T.

Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Previous page. Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan. Next page. Review "Anthony Kronman, former dean of Yale Law School, is fighting for aristocracy -- and not the kind made up of gouty men in brocade and powdered wigs, or Wall Street executive in bespoke suits.

He believes in the 'rule of the best' as America's top universities have long defined it: an unabashed elitism that elevates 'character, wisdom, and excellence' over the pursuit of wealth and power A seminar discussion is not a debate, not a therapy session, but 'a joint enterprise' in which students and teachers seek truth by collaborating 'in the production of something whose authorship they share' At its best, this 'conversational ideal' is the democratic gateway to Kronman's aristocracy of excellence.

Some of our most esteemed institutions are starting to feel the blowback But there's been little obvious soul-searching among academics, until now. Anthony Kronman is an academic insider par excellence: a former dean of Yale Law School, a professor there for four decades and a self-proclaimed progressive who cut his political teeth as a student radical in the s In his new book, The Assault on American Excellence Kronman tries to coax academia back from the precipice.

Rooting his argument in 2, years of philosophical tradition, he wants to convince his colleagues that they must turn away from politics and reclaim their role as protectors of independent thought and the free search for truth. In connection to that, Anthony Kronman has a bracing book on American higher education, its purposes and problems. Kronman, a professor and former dean at Yale Law School, observes the academy in which he's spent his career and doesn't like everything he sees.

He is generally progressive yet opposes the leveling produced by the steamroller of prevalent political, cultural and educational attitudes.

It is a rich book, densely argued. I want to call it a cry of the heart, but it's more like a cry of the brain, a calm and erudite one.

The answers that colleges themselves give are almost exclusively utilitarian: A college education prepares you to succeed in the global marketplace, trains you to 'think critically, ' and so on. Anthony Kronman proposes a very different answer. The true purpose of an undergraduate education, he argues in T he Assault on American Excellence But it was But Kronman's book is enlivened by the new era of Black Lives Matter, antifa and a new campus culture that too often values 'feelings' and 'safety' over the fundamental values of free speech and rational arguments.

The Assault on American Excellence may well be the most full-throated attack on the academic embrace of diversity produced by a prominent, if former, senior university official in the entire half-century history of affirmative action in higher education.

Instead, they are the beneficiaries of a system put in place by professors and administrators whose political views are almost uniformly left-wing and whose campus policies indulge nearly every progressive orthodoxy. So why all the rage?

The answer lies in the title of Anthony Kronman's necessary, humane and brave new book: The Assault on American Excellence. Kronman brings erudition, eloquence, and candor to bear on the most controversial subjects roiling our campuses.

He unflinchingly defends elitism in academia, maintaining that doing so is essential not only to the maintenance of scholarly standards, but to the strengthening of democratic values. His arguments are brilliant, arresting, memorable. Although I do not agree with all that he wrote, I gained instruction on nearly every page.

This book is bound to infuriate many, but it's the wakeup call this country needs for an urgent conversation about the role of colleges and universities in a rapidly changing America. You may not agree with this book, but it will open your mind. Universities would lose their souls, as Anthony Kronman shows in this brilliant book. He weaves together legal and intellectual history, a humane concern for students, and a love of the life of the mind to diagnose the core confusion undermining the confidence and coherence of the academy.

The book is beautifully written, it is erudite yet accessible, and it is essential for any discussion of the future of higher education--or of liberal democracy.

Customers who bought this item also bought. Education's End. Who Killed Civil Society? No customer reviews. How does Amazon calculate star ratings? The machine learned model takes into account factors including: the age of a review, helpfulness votes by customers and whether the reviews are from verified purchases.

Review this product Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. Verified Purchase. Anthony Kronman brings to light the current dilemma facing colleges and universities through describing the loss of pursuing excellence!

He describes the politicalization of education and how faculty and staff need to push back against this demeaning approach. It is a must read, whether you agree with him or not, it makes you think through his well structured arguments.

Read in one session. If you want a quick tour of what education was and what it has become, buy this book! Kronman makes a compelling argument that talent crushing egalitarianism is a serious threat to the University's traditional pursuits of excellence.

An amazing book. This is an interesting and important book, a followup to other significant work on higher education by Dean Kronman. The dean is a strong believer in liberal education. He characterizes this by drawing a distinction between our desire for political equality in the larger society and what he terms 'aristocratic' education within the ethos of the university. Note that he is following Tocqueville and others in this regard.

When we try to turn the university into a setting marked by political equality we end up destroying it, because education is a personal, challenging enterprise and we should be pressed to achieve it at the highest levels possible. The confusion of external political aspirations with the work of the university is the source of our current dilemmas.

He looks at such issues as freedom of speech, 'diversity' and 'memory', i. He offers rational, empirical arguments in support of 'traditionalist' positions on these issues and argues for aspirational thinking rather than political thinking.

His arguments are completely persuasive and lovely though sometimes just a tad recondite. The problem is that those he is attempting to persuade are thinking 'abstractly' and ideologically. They are highly unlikely to respond to his appeals of sweet reason. They are not in the least troubled, for example, by the fact that they can call for 'diversity' and exclude intellectual diversity from the discussion. Anyone who challenges their intellectual constructs is obviously a bad person, fool or bigot.

This is one of the problems with the book at least in the way that I see it. Dean Kronman is as generous in spirit as one could imagine and never questions the motives of the activist students and their faculty enablers. He accepts their feelings as always totally legitimate though he argues for reason over feelings and does not discuss the degree to which their actions might be an expression of a will to power on the one hand and a desire to evade requirements and expectations on the other.

There really are some students who want an honorific diploma but do not want to pursue the education that should undergird it. Similarly, there are students and, of course, faculty who are more interested in politics than traditional subject matter and wish to distort the university to fit their interests rather than those that voters, taxpayers and traditional educators might prefer. I believe that the 'aristocratic' issue is key. The Enlightenment's purpose was to liberate and such landmarks as the French Encyclopedia were to disseminate information to the masses that would enable them to be free of the power of the church and the aristocracy.

It would lift them, free them, and enable them to grow and prosper. The key point now is that in challenging 'aristocratic' liberal education the left is denying students opportunities.

This is not 'progressive'; this is a tragedy. Those most in need of opportunities are offered pallid substitutes instead and while they are allowed to contemplate themselves and their own experiences their outrageously-high tuition is captured as they are offered a diminished product.

Curricula are gutted; general education is effaced; expectations are reduced at all levels; grades are artificially increased. This is not 'good for them'. Simultaneously, the offering of admission advantages which Dean Kronman approves of is very dangerous if the advantages overlook the question of 'fit'.


The Sage of Yale Law

Anthony Kronman is no fan of current thinking in American higher education. Affirmative action? Renaming of buildings that honored those who embraced slavery? Political correctness, according to Kronman. And in case you didn't guess, he doesn't much like political correctness, either. He is a professor at Yale University's law school and was its dean from to


Anthony T. Kronman

Anthony Kronman am, Sep 13, I appreciate the scholarly attention she devotes to my arguments. In the end, though, it is difficult for me to tell where we disagree. Words mean different things to different people in different circumstances. This is the starting point of every serious historical, philosophical or literary inquiry. But it is only a beginning.


‘The Assault on American Excellence’


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