The Writer's Workshop: Imitating Your Way to Better Writing

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9781933859330: The Writer's Workshop: Imitating Your Way to Better Writing
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The Writer’s Workshop takes an approach to teaching writing that is new only because it is so old. Today, rhetoric and composition typically proceed by ignoring what was done for 2,500 years in Western education. Gregory Roper, on the other hand, helps students learn to write in the way the great writers of the past themselves learned: by carefully imitating masters of the craft, including Cicero, Thomas Aquinas, Charles Dickens, Sojourner Truth, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway. By living in their workshops and apprenticing to these and other masters, apprentice writers—like apprentice musicians, painters, and blacksmiths of the past—will rapidly improve the complexity of their art and discover their own native voices. Interspersed into chapters full of sound practical advice and challenging assignments are reflections on Great Ideas from “Realism and Impressionism” to “Nominalism and Modern Science.” Perfect for the college or even high school writing classroom—as well as a marvelous book for homeschoolers and others who would like to improve their own writing—The Writer’s Workshop is a fine practical guide, and Dr. Roper a friendly yet demanding teacher-mentor.

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Book Description:

Ever since America descended into economic crisis the comparisons to the Great Depression have come fast and furious. Incredibly, we have heard almost nothing about a much more recent economic calamity: the ruinous “stagflation” of the 1970s—the second-worst decade in American economic history. But now, in the riveting, groundbreaking book Econoclasts, historian Brian Domitrovic reminds us that the twentieth century’s greatest economic counterrevolution emerged in response to that crisis: supply-side economics.

In a pulsing narrative, Domitrovic tells the remarkable story of the economists, journalists, Washington staffers, and (ultimately) politicians who showed America how to get out of the 1970s funk and ushered in an unprecedented quarter-century run of growth and opportunity. Here we meet Robert Mundell, the brilliant economist who held court over martinis in a Manhattan steakhouse; his gregarious cohort Arthur Laffer, chief economist on the president’s budget staff at the tender age of thirty; Robert Bartley, the Wall Street Journal’s reticent editorial-page editor who became the first impresario of supply-side economics; Jack Kemp, the football-star-turned-congressman who led the fight to turn supply-side theory into practice; Jude Wanniski, the eccentric, hot rod–driving reporter whose best-selling book touched off the supply-side revolution; and a host of other fascinating figures who helped upend the economic establishment.

Based on the author’s years of archival research, Econoclasts explodes numerous myths about supply-side economics, including its “creation myth”—the famous incident in which Laffer sketched a simple curve on a napkin. Domitrovic conclusively demonstrates that supply-side advocates did not invent a doctrine out of whole cloth. Their central insight was that the two massive means of governmental intrusion in the economy—the income tax and the Federal Reserve—play the primary role in starting and perpetuating any economic crisis. What’s more, Domitrovic shows that the specific combination of tax cuts and stable money had an unbroken record of success long before it went by the name “supply-side economics”: in 1962, when JFK ended the economic sluggishness that had brought three recessions in Eisenhower’s eight-year presidency; in 1947, when the United States embarked on the postwar boom; and in 1922, when Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon inaugurated the Roaring ’20s by imploring the Fed to keep the price level stable and arranging for Congress to slash income-tax rates.

Econoclasts is a masterful narrative history in the tradition of Amity Shlaes’s The Forgotten Man and John Steele Gordon’s An Empire of Wealth. It is also impeccably timely: this is a story we must know if we are to understand the foundations of America’s prosperity—foundations that are now under increasing attack.

About the Author:

Gregory L. Roper, is based in Irving, Texas, (University of Dallas) and from July 1st 2007 will be working in Rome, Italy. Roper is an English professor and director of the Writing Program at the University of Dallas, has taught courses in composition, literature, and various genres of writing at the University of Virginia, Ripon College, and Northwest Missouri State University. A medievalist by training, Dr. Roper has published on penitential manuals and their influence on late-medieval literature, including the Gawain poet and Chaucer, and has written poetry and prose for such general-interest magazines as First Things. His degrees come from the University of Dallas and the University of Virginia.

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