Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class

Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class By Ross Douthat, Privilege Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class Now in paperback the penetrating critique of elite universities and the culture of privilege they perpetuate Ross Gregory Douthat arrived at Harvard University in the fall of carrying an idealiz
  • Title: Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class
  • Author: Ross Douthat
  • ISBN: 9781401307554
  • Page: 462
  • Format: Paperback
  • Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class By Ross Douthat, Now in paperback, the penetrating critique of elite universities and the culture of privilege they perpetuate Ross Gregory Douthat arrived at Harvard University in the fall of 1998 carrying an idealized vision of Ivy League life But the Harvard of his dreams, an institution fueled by intellectual curiosity and entrusted with the keys to liberal education, never materializNow in paperback, the penetrating critique of elite universities and the culture of privilege they perpetuate Ross Gregory Douthat arrived at Harvard University in the fall of 1998 carrying an idealized vision of Ivy League life But the Harvard of his dreams, an institution fueled by intellectual curiosity and entrusted with the keys to liberal education, never materialized Instead, he found himself in a school rife with elitism and moneyed excess, an incubator for the grasping and ambitious, a college seduced by the religion of success So Douthat was educated at Harvard, but what Harvard taught him was not what he had gone there to learn Instead, he was immersed in the culture of America s ever swelling ruling class a culture of privilege, of ambition and entitlement, in which a vast network of elite schools are viewed by students, parents, administrators, and professors as stepping stones to high salaries and coveted social networks than as institutions entrusted with academic excellence Privilege is a powerfully rendered portrait of a young manhood, a pointed social critique of this country s most esteemed institutions, and an exploration of issues such as affirmative action, grade inflation, political correctness, and curriculum reform.
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    About "Ross Douthat"

    1. Ross Douthat

      Ross Gregory Douthat is a conservative American author, blogger and New York Times columnist He was a senior editor at The Atlantic and is author of Privilege Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class Hyperion, 2005 and, with Reihan Salam, Grand New Party Doubleday, 2008 , which David Brooks called the best single roadmap of where the Republican Party should and is likely to head He is a film critic for National Review and has also contributed to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, the Claremont Review of Books, GQ, Slate, and other publications In addition, he frequently appears on the video debate site Bloggingheads In April 2009, he became an online and op ed columnist for The New York Times, replacing Bill Kristol as a conservative voice on the Times editorial page Douthat is the youngest regular op ed writer in the paper s history.

    446 thoughts on “Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class”

    1. Pretty good read It seems like Douthat has a good idea of what Harvard is and what it s about Privilege, class, and money are still important social markers even in this dreamland called America Being a Stanford grad, I have nothing against Harvard and am sure they give a world class education.Some of the stories he gave were shocking He talked about race and gender politics And about how school was a race to the top and not a quest for learning College and admissions is turning into a game wher [...]

    2. How can Douthat write so well so young He wrote this memoir of his years at Harvard just a few years after graduation Extremely well done Take aways 1 he s a great writer 2 I m so glad I didn t go to Harvard, not that it was ever in the cards for me 3 I wonder what my Dad s years at Harvard med school were like He didn t talk about it much, but I would be so intrigued, and now I can t ask him.I would have given is 4.5 stars just because of some content issues and it gets a little bit draggy in t [...]

    3. Since admission to Harvard University is granted to a select few, I figured that Privilege Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class was about the privilege of simply being accepted there I was surprised to realize that author Ross Douthat believes that students who come to Harvard are ALREADY privileged I don t mean the privilege of old of social registers and massive Newport cottages, or farther back, of titles and family crests No, ours is the privilege that comes with belonging to an upp [...]

    4. I have very mixed feelings about this book On the one hand, I think he nails some of the behaviors, attitudes, and trends of students, faculty, and administrators at elite institutions Often as I read I found it remarkable how much he got right, at least according to my early 2000 s college years at UVA the so called public Ivy, pretentious as that is He s a talented writer, though he seems to realize this and frequently goes overboard with unnecessarily melodramatic sentences and semi obscure c [...]

    5. Privilege is the story of Douthat s time spent at Harvard, and how he came to be disillusioned with and yet paradoxically enad by the assumptions of success, entitlement, and ambition that consumed the college.Douthat s book explores some of the sociological impacts of these assumptions within the historical context of Harvard s traditions, explaining those ways in which the privileged set has both changed since the days of family crests and somehow managed to stay as entrenched and presumptive [...]

    6. Douthat, who will soon be in the print pages of the New York Times as an op ed columnist, certainly doesn t provide a gripping tale of college life It s a dry version of Tom Wolfe s I am Charlotte Simmons However, what I found most enlightening as a teacher of students who believe that a university s status means a better education was Douthat s well written chapter on the decline of Harvard academics Harvard has led the way primarily because the brand is so strong everyone tries to emulate it i [...]

    7. Interesting how many of the things that are true of Harvard are true of ND, in terms of student life, particularly ambition over an idea of the good The snippets of post graduate updates Hi all, I just got back from a summer spent in x doing y It was an amazing experience to see another part of the world Now I m in z city working for l company were hilarious because they were so true It made me grateful that I went to ND, because most of the things that were negative about Harvard were less so [...]

    8. Interesting perspective on the elite ruling class socially and politically Moreover, interesting perspective on socioeconomic and regional diversity in college board admissions.

    9. This book can call itself whatever it wants, and is Dewey decimaled 378, but it s mostly a memoir with plenty of associated VGRS Sort of interesting to see how many building names at Harvard are matched at my alma mater.Random homeless dude crashing your dorm suite been there done that.Exclusive and expensive social clubs not unlike fraternities at Harvard they were all men only as of 2005.Sociopath chick embezzling 100K from her student group in order to fake a fancy lifestyle and she was hardl [...]

    10. If you mainly know Douthat from his stint as the conservative op ed voice on the New York Times, you ll be surprised how reasonable he comes off here, in a book that reads like a memoir than a cultural critique Don t worry though, he still lets his conservative cred show This is particularly the case in the chapter meant to excoriate the naked careerism and bloodthirsty networking of Harvard students and their summer internships, which turns out to be a rhapsodic account of time spent in the co [...]

    11. I ve long enjoyed Douthat s column in the New York Times He is an unusually clear and reasonable voice for social conservatives in today s media.This is his first book, published in 2005, not too long after his time as a student at Harvard I was expecting something in the snarky and insightful essay style typical of his columns, but this is much of a college memoir It still has some high points of excellent writing and commentary on the stratification of American life specifically the growing g [...]

    12. This was memoir of a college experience than book with a coherent point Which was kind of disappointing, but understandable since it was written just a couple years after Douthat s graduation Ross Douthat s careful, measured conservatism is refreshing among the ideologues that dominate political conversation today, and that rhetorical style is on display in this book A few sections are essentially political commentary on events that happened during his college career, including 9 11 If the book [...]

    13. I love college memoirs I don t know why they fascinate me so much, but I think they re great Privilege is Ross Douthat s tale of his four years at Harvard And unlike other memoirs I ve read, it digs deeper than mere social issues and classes Now don t get me wrong he does talk about his final club experience and his attempts getting a girlfriend It s clearly hard to get a girl at Harvard since you can t use the I go to Harvard line What interested me the most was that he tried to give history on [...]

    14. Oh my.I have read very few books as self indulgent as this one An entire book devoted to one person s gripes and disappointments with his undergraduate experience Reading about his awkwardness with woman unrequited crushes of all sorts was a particular waste of time I imagine that it received attention and a publisher because it was about a prestigious place Harvard from an unconventional viewpoint conservative Perhaps what is funniest is the sense of disillusionment at the heart of the book I s [...]

    15. I enjoyed this look into Douthat s Harvard world, it felt reflective and honest in ways I wouldn t expect from someone only three years out from the experience As the product of the un Harvard, a huge state school with open admissions, I found it oddly comforting that he experienced Harvard as a school where, if you wanted educated, you d need to largely educate yourself the faculty was mostly busy doing their own work or their own publicity When friends say they don t want their kids to go to a [...]

    16. As a regular reader of Douthat s excellent work at the NY Times, I was pleased to get a chance to learn a bit about the person behind the personality Douthat uses his own experiences at Harvard as a jumping off point for broader commentary on the failings of the meritocracy and the culture of the 21st century It s a fast read and definitely worth the handful of hours that it requires It s also the type of book that I would encourage teenagers entering college to read It might give them some need [...]

    17. I got this book off a table outside the book store at my alma mater a few years ago because of the provocative title and the unbeatable price 0.00 The thing I love and hate about Ross Douthat is that he frequently looks at the same things I do, in much the same way, and consistently comes to the exact opposite conclusion I would It baffles and delights me It s a much greater pleasure in short form, though especially his blog he s very insightful, but his commitment to Republican politics leads h [...]

    18. A quick and enjoyable read Douthat has a nice blend of funny and analytical, and does not hesitate to make fun of himself Douthat gets quite nostalgic and wistful near the end he sounds exactly like a young adult who is writing several years after graduating college Much of the book is light and episodic relating anecdotes, thoughts, and analyses of his college years so one of the last chapters, Liberal Civil Wars , packs a surprising punch It s worth reading for that chapter alone My major res [...]

    19. I read this book hoping to get some insight to what happens at Harvard and how going to school there is different this book showed me how going to school at Harvard is a whole new experience unlike anything i could have imagined Ross Douthat shows that even though there is grade inflation and self serving professors and administrators, the real education comes from the extracurricular activities and how each students earned their spot The experience you get from reading this book is what happens [...]

    20. My friend Jamie sent me this book years ago and I skimmed it then and finally read it for real this week I could write a book about my opinions on privilege and college, and it would be absolutely nothing like this one, and I think that s what I didn t like about it rather than examining why and how this deep divide exists in our higher education system, it was of a whiny memoir of his own privileged experiences that led to gainful employment and will lead to the next generation of privileged I [...]

    21. I have to admit, I did not think that I was getting a Memoir about Douthat s days at Harvard when I picked this up, with a side order of anti vax pretty early on in the book I had read and liked his book Grand New Party which had a lot barring my hatred of sprawl, something he was in favor of things I agreed with But this was nothing like it and I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping to see a center right takedown of Ivy League education similar to his center right takedown of the wandering an [...]

    22. I expected this book to be a critique of contemporary college culture, and certainly there are some elements of that I thought the chapter about Approaches to Education was interesting and insightful, if largely misguided However, I felt like most of the book was too personal to be credibly critical, and eventually I just got tired of reading about this poor little privileged boy Douthat s unreflective political stance also became increasingly annoying as the book progressed, and it kept getting [...]

    23. interesting book, because the social world of harvard is interesting, but overall, disappointing russ thinks of himself as an outsider from harvard, although he went to a prep school in connecticut where the tuition is 20K pretty much takes him the whole book to bitch about popular people than he was while he was there i m not sure, but when you re the editor of the conservative harvard campus paper, whether you think you are or not, trust me, you re on the inside if he s one of the best thinke [...]

    24. This was assigned for my sociology course and was very good The author graduated from Harvard and gave his experience as a student there Interesting, well written and he gives the positives and negatives yes there are some to getting a Harvard education He stated The Harvard education is not about the academics unless you are in the sciences it is a cultural education and learning how to function in the elite, upper class of society I recommend this book.

    25. While this wasn t the book I was expecting it was memoir than commentary or analysis , Douthat picks an interesting subject and writes in an easygoing and approachable way He could have incorporated commentaries and analysis from other sources data about college admissions, Harvard professors, other college or university presidents, etc, to widen the scope of the book, but overall it reads well and is an insightful story into America s most famous university.

    26. The subtitle is Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class but it turned out to be mostly a memoir of his own Harvard years with only the occasional attempt to broaden it The author seems obsessed with finals clubs, which I don t remember as anything than a remnant of old Harvard, certainly not the center of social scene that this author portrays Overall I found this rather disappointing.

    27. Mr Douthat is a witty, insightful writer, but this book should come come with the caveat that it s not an original story It s representative of the experiences of thousands of students who venture through college each year A peek into Harvard is interesting, but I didn t find it much different from other anecdotal experiences and stories from other institutions.

    28. The title is horribly misleading this book is not about Harvard and the education of the ruling class, rather it s about Ross Douthat s undergraduate years at Harvard from 1998 2002 his classmates, his professors, his absent sex life, and his observations about privilege and making it and the doors a Harvard education opens.

    29. I actually took a tour of Ross s dorm room at Harvard well after graduating from college just because I wanted to get a feel for where he had been when he let a hobo hang out in his common room This story is about 50% gold when he s rattling off the ever comical college stories and 50% tedium as he points out the meritocracy nature of the world.

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