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Table of Contents | Prologue | Comments on the Book
Reviews | Errata | Read the Book | Purchase the Book

The Underground History of American Education Advance Comments
I count John Gatto among my heroes.
-Robert Bly
(letter to The Journal of Family Life)

Your ideas are splendid. I just hope someone is listening.
-Christopher Lasch
Revolt of the Elites; True and Only Heaven
(letter to author)

Gatto is the most interesting writer on education today.
-PreserveNet Home Page

This book is brilliant. When I finished it I felt like I'd just gone fifteen rounds with the champ. This book is unlike any other, for my money the best approach to an understanding of the mythology of public education in America around.
-Chris Mercogliano, Director,
The Albany Free School

Gatto's voice is strong and unique, a Socrates of the educational world. Don't deny yourself the blood-curdling pleasure of reading this perverse history of American education as a design for a real life. I loved this book!
-Thomas Moore
Care of the Soul; Soul Mates

I've loved John Gatto's work ever since I first encountered his astounding essays in The Sun. This analysis of schooling is presented with daring, panache, and a humorous passion that leaps off the page. I give this book a standing ovation! Bravo!
-Christiane Northrup, M.D.
Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom

The emotional effect of Underground History cannot be overstated. It reminds me of the reporter watching the Hindenburg burst into flames who cried, "Oh, the humanity!" Gatto is crying here, "Oh, the Children!" This is the most important education book of my lifetime.
-Michael Farris, President,
Home School Legal Defense Association

These pages burn with insight and controversy. You cannot read this book without changing the way you look at schools.
-Pat Farenga,
President, Holt Associates

Anyone interested in the fate of our schools should make this book a priority. Gatto's insistence on calling a spade a spade in recognizing the bases on which modern schooling has been built leaves no doubt that our well-being requires us to leave behind the concept of institutional education as a social good.
-Dan Greenberg
Co-founder, The Sudbury Valley School

Gatto tells us straight up what's wrong with school in his powerful trademark blend of passion and hard thinking. Grounded in a careful study of history, crafted out of the context of his own brilliant 30-year teaching career, this book will validate your own shadowy intuition about schooling.
-Grace Llewelyn
The Teenage Liberation Handbook

John Taylor Gatto is the most famous schoolteacher in the United States for good reasons!
-The Independence Institute

He paints a scathing picture of caring people's best intentions undermined....examines the psychology, economics, sociology, anthropology, and politics of modern institutionalized forced schooling, concluding it cannot be reformed because it is doing exactly what it is designed to do. Don't miss this inspiring rebel educator.
-The Open Center
New York City

The Underground History of American Education is the Blair Witch Project of educational critiques. I predict it will prove to be an indigestible lump in the throat of the school establishment. A triumph!
-Roland Legiardi-Laura
Director, The Nuyorican Poets Café
Founder, The Fifth Night Film Project

How does he probe so deeply the complex issues surrounding our schools when so many experts can hardly penetrate the surface at all? Here a master lecturer works his magic to cast the issues surrounding our schools in a new light. An examination of the assumptions behind compulsory schooling is the goal of this book. Haunting. A minor classic.
-Eric Schultes
The Whitehead Institute, M.I.T.

I can honestly say there are few things I've read recently, or probably ever, that provoked me to exclaim "This is so RIGHT!" with such alarming regularity.
-Chersteen Anderson
Director, Sisters Under the Skin

This is a gorgeous book, filled with life, passion, eloquence–in the service of children. There are treasures on every page.
-Mary Leue
Founder, The Albany Free School

A breathtaking, sweeping view of what compulsory schooling has done to America. No one else can tell the truth the way he does...marvelous insights...unalloyed wisdom. This book is a battering ram.
-Sam Blumenfeld
The Blumenfeld Education Letter

In my opinion this is one of the most important books on education ever written. Gatto takes us on a journey, tracing the development of his own thinking about government schooling. Here is the whole story, the hidden agendas, the true believers, the dumbing down. If you care at all about children, you'll be livid as you read.
-Cathy Duffy
Author, Government Nannies

The most powerful, important, moving, and in many places, beautiful manuscript I have ever read. It is a book I know will change the people who read it...
-John Strohmeier
Author, Divine Harmony: The Life and Teachings of Pythagoras

This book is the Silent Spring of American education.
-Diane Flynn Keith
Publisher, Homefires

A breathtaking work of scholarship and encyclopedic scope...history accompanied by an incisive and illuminating narrative. Gatto delivers for our consideration an astonishing cast of cranks while revealing the nest of special interests which profit from schools just as they are. This marvelous book should be required reading for anyone interested in the frightening truth about the enterprise we call "education."
-Adam Robinson, co-founder, The Princeton Review
Author, What Smart Students Know

John Taylor Gatto's voice is a singular antidote to stale convention.
-David Guterson
Author, Snow Falling on Cedars

A brilliant educational renegade...
-Borders Bowie

It's a wonderful book; reading it feels positively treasonous. I can well imagine how Winston Smith must have felt when first opening his copy of Emmanuel Goldstein's treatise.
-Dana W. Albrecht
San Jose, California

Mr. Gatto is an adventure not to be missed.
-L.I.G.H.T. Long Island Education Conference

In this fine work, John Taylor Gatto traces the historic sources of educational corruption and pleads for a new deal for children, one grounded in the family and an intelligible order of the good.
-John E. Coons, Professor
University of California Law School at Berkeley
Author, Making School Choice Work

The need for changing the institutional environment of our schools was best a New York City public school teacher, John Taylor Gatto, upon the receipt of an award recognizing him as the outstanding teacher in the State of New York.
-Senator Kerrey (Nebraska)
Congressional Record No. 135

Internationally renowned for his critique of formal education....
-London International Home Education Conference,
Friends House

Gatto addresses the deadening heart of compulsory schooling with its assumptions and structures which stamp out the self-knowledge, curiosity, concentration, and solitude which are essential to learning. He speaks of the contradiction between human purpose and abstract state purpose, giving examples of what can happen when the everyday genius of ordinary people is allowed to develop.
-Human Scale Education Annual Conference,

Absolutely fascinating!
-Helen Hegener
Publisher, Home Education Magazine

I gasped in disbelief as John Gatto told the outrageous story of a tiny Vermont town financially ruined by an education establishment run amok....Gatto's humor, charm, and immense love of life and people come across clearly. He has forged an enviable reputation as a plain talking speaker and a thorn in the side of the educational establishment.
-Marshall Fritz
Founder, Separation of School and State Alliance

Gatto is successful not because his students throw bottles in the ocean, or because they figure out how to win contests...Gatto is successful because he loves his students in very real and tangible ways. He doesn't separate his life from their lives.
-John Small
Lincoln, Vermont

The most important book on education I have ever read. It will open your eyes and, God willing, change your children's lives.
- Mary Pride
Publisher, Practical Homeschooling
Author, The Big Book of Home Learning

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