Prepare the Child for the Road, Not the Road for the Child

The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, Penguin Press, 2018, 352 pp., $12.83 hardbound.
  • Russ NieliEmail author

“No cross, no crown” wrote the Quaker William Penn. In a similar vein, the great Catholic mystic John of the Cross explained to his followers that only in journeying through the crucible of the Dark Night of the Soul could one discover beatitude and ultimate truth. In The Coddling of the American Mind—a much-expanded version of an earlier article written for the Atlantic Monthly—we learn that the impetus for both the original article and the more ambitious book comes from one of its co-author’s own encounter with a prolonged Dark Night journey. Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), went through a period of extreme depression that at one point nearly led him to suicide. But Lukianoff eventually overcame his depression, and, as was said of the late Whittaker Chambers after abandoning his life as a Communist spy, he did not return from Hell empty handed.

Lukianoff’s struggle with suicidal depression began to change course once he...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Princeton’s Politics DepartmentPrincetonUSA

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