The opening of American mind by Lawrence W. Levine Essay (Book Review)

April 26, 2022 by Essay Writer

Updated: Jul 20th, 2020

The following book review of the opening of American mind by Lawrence W. Levine is an analytical summary of the content of the material that is under the study.

In a book review, any writer writes the book and the book reviewer acts as the researcher, reader, analyst and the reporter of the given written book later analyzes it. In this essay, the book Lawrence W. Levine is known as the opening of the American mind to explain. Lawrence W. Levine is a renown writer who is a professor at Berkeley university and he is specialized in history as a profession.

Lawrence W. Levine has written a variety of books and in the opening of the American mind, Lawrence W. Levine has described how critics developed towards the higher education in America and these include people such as Allan Bloom. The critics have diverted from the facts that are related to the higher education in America and have turned it into a debate.

Lawrence W. Levine states that change in the mode of teaching in the American higher education has majorly been influenced by the political standards in America.

Lawrence W. Levine also states that critics of American higher education also emerged from the universities administrations who, for a long time, have been criticizing the western civilization which promotes the American higher education.

Lawrence W. Levine also argues that the change in the mode of teaching in the history has not only been influenced by the declining political standards but also the cultural changes that are prevalent in America and also the demographic changes.

Lawrence W. Levine has been a professor at the Berkley university for a long duration of time and he is well familiar with the history of the university and even about history and literature as a whole more than any other critic that may arise.

He has witnessed how there has been an educational decline that has progressed from year to year since the time that the university was established. The other factor that contributed to the decline in education in America apart from the decline in political standards and changes in demography and culture is the argument over which subjects to include in the curriculum of the higher education in America.

Some people who criticize the change in the educational curriculum in America defend their criticism by stating that they are not the first ones to criticize western civilization and changing the education curriculum but even before universities decided to change their educational curriculum, it had already been argued and criticized.

Levine brings out the contrast between the challenges that were encountered in the past education systems and the present education systems which are under very high debate on what subjects to include in the American curriculum.

This debate was so intense when the proposed academic curriculum in America proposed to withdraw some of the compulsory classic subjects that seemed to contain elements of barbarism to some people. This aspect was greatly protested against and especially by people like bloom who advocated for continuing to live in the past educational systems.

Lawrence W. Levine states that the western civilization teaching started during the World War 1 and its main purpose was to enable the citizens of the United States to acquire knowledge of their wartime. As a result, they started to introduce courses that were related to war and they mostly applied a working model that was similar to that of Colombians civilization.

In this book, Lawrence W. Levine states that the western civilization determined the entire history of the world in general and was imperative to be introduced to America’s higher education program. Western civilization courses were much older than the critics that were protesting against it as mentioned earlier than it was introduced during the wartime when these critics were not there.

In this book of opening of the American mind, Lawrence W. Levine puts an emphasis that multiculturalism is an important subject that should be included as one of the subjects in the American higher education program because of the high changes in the composition of the present society who are located in different demographic location of the America. Lawrence W. Levine advocates for the citizens of the United States embracing a curriculum that goes even beyond their intellectual understanding as opposed to bloom and company.

The subjects to be included in the American higher education program should address how this culture, demographic changes should be addressed rather than just assuming their existence and causing some of the citizens who belong to that country but of a different culture in a different demographic locations to feel inferior and separated. Lawrence W. Levine states that only a minority of people out of the entire population in their country would like to dwell in their past.

Majority of the people including the students in all the universities in the United States want to move with time and mostly in academics because it remains to be the foundation of development not only in America but also all over the world. As seen earlier in this essay, the debate of western civilization to multi cultures did not start with people like boom and company verses Lawrence W. Levine nor is it going to end with them. Some will continue in the latter days to come.

However, it does not matter who will appear in the latter days or what book shall be written but the thing is America cannot assume the current issue at hand. They need to come to one agreement that the old is gone, the new has come, and it will continue to come since America and the entire world in general are not stagnant.

They should realize that what is considered civilization today is barbaric tomorrow. Lawrence W. Levine suggests that those who fight the multicultural courses in the American higher education should have their opinions regarded invalid because they are misleading the nation and that of Lawrence W. Levine to remain untouched for it is for the benefit of the nation at large (Levine, 1987).

The analysis shows that before Lawrence W. Levine wrote this book of opening of American mind, there was no other book that was written by any writer to respond to the criticism that were there already to higher education in America. That is why as the title of the book suggest opening of the mind means that there was a sense of captivity in the minds of the intended readers of Lawrence W. Levine.

He states in his book that those who have been affected greatly by the wars on culture are not those people that are in the renowned expensive institutions but rather those that are attached to the educational system in America.

The critics of higher education in America such as bloom and company do not care for the interest of the nation at large but only care for their personal benefits such as sales of their books, which are not that popular for nobody in America wants to relate with critics that are not logical.

Lawrence W. Levine book about the opening of the American mind provide a broad understanding of why the Americans should shift their minds from the past. They need to set their minds to the present to come out of barbarism into civilization and mostly in their academic, as education is the main basic aspect that helps the people of a given nation to attain civilization.

Regarding this book, researches based on western civilization and higher educations have been carried out. I strongly agree with Lawrence W. Levine that it is high time that the American got enlightened and opened their minds to embrace multicultural and demographic change in their nation.

This will facilitate their western civilization and shun away from critics that try to form baseless debates such as bloom and company. As one reads read this book, the reader shall learn more details that Lawrence W. Levine has brought concerning the Americans higher education and western civilization. Towards the end, the only thing that the reader shall have for other books that have been written to criticize higher education in America is scorn and despises (Levine, 1987).


Levine, L. (1987). The opening of American mind. New York: Collier books.

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