Krasko's BOOK

book reviews from Amazon. COM

The Era of Our Discontent

By Louis A. Girifalco

The decline of true education has created a crisis that has infected society. Many people, especially young people, are truly bored and have no compelling meaning in their lives.

The reasons for the decline include: the emphasis on training rather than on education; the concern with giving students a positive self-image; the attack on the existence of truth by cultural relativists, and a growing anti-intellectualism. All conspire to produce students that do not care deeply about anything, so they are bored. The search for meaning is replaced by the pursuit of pleasure.

Krasko has analyzed this phenomenon in a variety of contexts ranging from drug use to entertainment; from the failure of the grade schools to the relation between the sexes. Through it all, he stresses the difference between "training", and humanistic education. The former prepares students for a job; only the latter can provide students with a basis for finding meaning in their lives.

Krasko's most important intellectual forebear is Viktor Frankl, who added the desire for meaning to the desire for sex and power in traditional psychoanalysis. Frankl's thesis is one of those basic truths that are obvious once stated and Krasko points out that ignoring this is at the heart of the current crisis in education and in society

This is a deep and thought-provoking book, yet so well organized and presented that it is eminently readable. It is full of compelling ideas and practical suggestions for reform. Once started, it is hard to put down and readers will find themselves going back to it repeatedly as they consider the consequences of Krasko's thought.

Parents, teachers, school boards, curriculum committees and academic administrators should all read this book. They will be richly rewarded.


Reversing Spengler's "Decline of the West"

By Woodford Mcclellan

In his influential "The Decline of the West," the German historian Oswald Spengler saw little hope for civilization. More than eighty years later, the physicist and humanitarian Genrich Krasko believes that a thorough overhauling of the American educational system can reverse the "decline" and usher in an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity. Krasko argues in "The Unbearable Boredom of Being" that "poor education is the main cause of almost all the problems our society is facing today." The evidence is overwhelming. Content to let machines and unscrupulous political and commercial manipulators do what passes for thinking, we have become a semi-literate society. In nearly 300 pages of stimulating analysis, Krasko offers a number of well thought-out ways to reform the educational system and in so doing achieve America's promise. This is an unusually provocative book.


A must reading for educators & politicians

By Paul G. Durbin, Ph.D.

 Genrich Krasko's book "Boredom of Being; A Crisis of Meaning in America." Should be on the "must reading" list for educators & politicians.
Krasko is well versed in Viktor Frankl's understanding of "Meaning in Life." and personal responsibility. He draws a sharp line between "Training" and "Educating". The American school systems focus on "Training" when the focus should be on "Educating". Educators should not lower education to the lowest common denominator, but help the least to raise their knowledge level and help the student to have and maintain meaning in life. His dream is for "our children to grow up happy and fulfilled, eager to learn,..., growing up to be mature adults able to love, wanting the world better and transferring the treasure of their souls - 'Meaning; to their children."


Searching for Meaning

By Dr. Teria Shantall(University of South Africa)

Genrich Krasko, a physicist by education, is a keen student of the works of the late Dr Viktor Frankl. It is this unique combination of the critically objective orientation of a natural scientist and the deeply personal quest to find meaning in life that is brought to bear on the writing of this rather unusual and highly thought-provoking book by the author.

The author is clearly an ardent believer that as human beings, we are endowed with a freedom to find and realize life's meaning contained in the tasks, responsibilities and challenges we are faced with throughout our lives. Our response in performing these tasks, embracing these responsibilities and heroically meeting life's challenges, gives shape to our commission and calling as human beings and allows us to give our lives stature and meaning. The unique slant of this book is that these truths are considered not only within an individual life context but also within the broader framework of American society. The author espouses the belief that the call to lead a highly accountable life not only addresses every individual person but also every nation and, in this case, the American people. How does American society shape in the light of these demands for meaningful living and how, particularly, does it give an account concerning the education of its young?

Genrich Krasko was born and educated in Russia, and this book is particularly interesting because it is an expression of an immigrant's personal experiences in his adopted homeland. The adjustment to his new home with the personal responsibility of raising a family and caring for a grandchild in a society earmarked by freedom and affluence, challenged his scientific mind and brought many sharp insights to bear on the nature of American society with a vivid realization of the unique challenges it faces. The author's basic contention is that freedom without the challenge of responsibility and the realization of values that transcend the immediate, here and now luxuries and pleasures can only end in the senseless void which Frankl described as an existential vacuum. The happiness secured through instant gratification is short-lived and empty of any real life content. Drug abuse, addiction, lawless and violent, decadent and indulgent behavior are all efforts to relieve what is, as the author illustrates, an unbearable boredom of being.

The book will appeal to anyone interested in understanding the existential challenges facing affluent society, and will be of particular interest to the American reader.


Training or Education?

By Alexander Roytburd (University of Maryland)

I read this book with great interest. It is not a secret that our educational system is in crisis. As a university professor, I have observed that the U. S. educational system places a much greater value on training rather than education. That is, the students at my engineering school appear to appreciate professional training more than broad knowledge of basic science principles. Unfortunately, such approach may lead to a decrease of cultural and ethical meaning of education.

The author passionately addresses this issue in his book when he emphasizes the underestimation of the humanistic role of education in our society. Being familiar with the culture and educational system of Soviet Russia he makes interesting and useful comparisons between different systems of education.

Undoubtedly the book addresses a very important issue and it would be great if it would stir a serious discussion of the problem. Of course this will depend, in the first place, on how many people will read the book. Thus, I hope this important book becomes more widely available.


This Unbearable Boredom of Being

By Leon Reznikov

This book should be read by all who care for the future of America, and, first of all, for the future of our children. The book is about the loss of meaning in people's lives - the illness that follows society's affluence.

The author, however, identifies a factor that, in his view - and I completely agree with him - has exacerbated this "crisis of meaning" in America. This factor is the degradation of our educational system. The system does not care any more to create a strong "spiritual core" in a child, and help develop child's personality. It cares only for "building skills." This, in fact sentences our society to "spiritual poverty," and "without any chance of parole."

The author discusses a "true" educational reform, but his suggestions are diametrically opposed to what is being discussed and implemented as "reforms" today. Reading the book one may think that nothing can be done, that what the author is discussing is an "idealistic delirium," a pipe dream never to be materialized.

However, to my astonishment and joy, I discovered in the Boston Russian Bulletin, an ad about a new "Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School," which is, in fact a realization of Genrich Krasko's dream of a school giving children KNOWLEDGE, rather than disseminating information helping to "build skills."

In spite of being a "science-math" school, the depth of teaching the humanity subjects will be as strong as that of scientific ones. The school's philosophy is that an individual cannot be cultured and educated without deep knowledge and understanding of the history and cultures of the previous generations.

This short review is not a place for detailed description of the new and "revolutionary" school with its curriculum, which has absorbed the best achievements of European and former Soviet pedagogical sciences.
What is important: the dream of this excellent book is becoming true.

A Crisis of Meaning not only in America

By Prof. Mojmir Sob (Masaryk University)

This book discusses very thoroughly most pending society ills of today's America from a non-traditional angle: from the point of view of the loss of meaning in people's lives. The author, Dr. Krasko, is a follower of Viktor Frankl, one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, the founder of the so-called "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy", and author of a very important book "Man's Search for Meaning." In one of his
books Frankl wrote: "Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for." This is the gist of Dr. Krasko's book.

The book discusses very thoroughly the most burning American problems: America's scientific ignorance, drug culture, gender polarization, racism etc. A very serious issue is the deterioration of the educational
system. According to Dr. Krasko, the system substitutes training (disseminating information) for true education (which is supposed to disseminate knowledge), thus preventing young American generation from acquiring a strong spiritual core based on knowledge, and, as a consequence, preventing young people from acquiring maturity. Dr. Krasko sees the absence of true education as the major reason that
has exacerbated the loss of meaning among millions people.

In the book, there is a very interesting essay, "Battered the First Amendment, Forgotten the Ninth" (the author means the Amendments to the US Constitution) which treats very thoroughly the relation of the freedom of an individual with respect to freedom of the others. The author also suggests a non-traditional interpretation of the Ninth Amendment, which may be of interest both to lawyers and constitutional experts.

I should also note that this book is not only about America. The existential crisis of the "loss of meaning" has engulfed the whole world, and Dr. Krasko's book may serve as a warning to other democracies, which either have already all the symptoms identified in the book, or are about to develop them (especially if they allow their educational system to deteriorate). One can trace such tendencies also in so-called "newly emerged democracies" of Central and Eastern Europe that have not had enough time yet to implement all changes into their educational system according to American pattern. I am sure that this book may definitely find interested readers in the Czech Republic and in Poland, and I will recommend it to all my friends.

In my view, Dr. Krasko's book of is very convincing. It is certainly worth reading: it brings a lot of material to think about.


A Fresh Look at America's Culture, Safety, and Freedom

By Dan Josli

In this book, "This Unbearable Boredom of Being," Dr. Genrich Krasko gives us a fresh look at both the dangers and possibilities residing in America's culture and its educational system. Dr. Krasko brings not only the perspective of an independent mind and fresh eyes but that of a man who is widely read in many areas in the humanities as well as in diverse areas of human endeavor and thought. With his practical and creative mind, Dr. Krasko probes beneath the surface of our current crises and offers practical solutions. This book addresses issues ranging from sex to science, from drugs to politics, and the paradox of empty lives in a land of material plenty and spiritual poverty. Dr. Krasko gives us not only WAKE UP call but also a WAY OUT path.

Thought-provoking book offering a fresh perspective

By Oleg Roytburd 

For me the central theme of the book rang true and provided fresh perspective. -- The amount of one's education and awareness, not to be confused with the degree of professional training, is essential for living more meaningful if not happy life.

While many of the author's observations and conclusions are open to the debate, in my opinion, the raised questions are valid and very much relevant for our time and our society.

To summarize, this is a fascinating, thought-provoking work which I highly recommend.


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