Gerald Newman, acclaimed author of The Rise of English Nationalism and holder of the Kent State University Distinguished Teaching Award, surveys his youth, education, students, and career in a memoir sparkling with humor and full of arresting portrayals of school life from both sides of the instructor’s desk.
Trying to Fix Stupid: The Autobiography of a Maverick Professor
A provocative and often hilarious look at teaching — a beautifully written book that will resonate with anyone who’s been a teacher or been taught in America.
Sketching his background and confessing his youthful follies and pranks, Gerald Newman arrives at his maverick schooldays, depicting a jolly parade of familiar types — teachers, principals, geeks and Greeks, zany profs and silver-tongued “grandees of the lecture hall.” Tracing his progress through the University of Washington, then Harvard, then his thirty-year career at Kent State after the infamous May 4th shooting (1970), he addresses the teacher’s main mission to “Fix Stupid,” amusingly revisiting battles with wayward students, John Birchers, Henry Kissinger, and other Harvard profs and sundry academics, administrators, and “woke” enthusiasts at Kent State.
A historian, he shows his own shaping by great outside forces — World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam, American political controversy, trendy intellectual fashions. He includes valuable teaching tips, laugh-out-loud accounts of educational travels, and biting commentary on the current political scene. This is a big book, containing much more than one man’s life story, written in a light-hearted and entertaining spirit by a very keen observer.