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By Neil Postman

In a chain of feisty and eventually hopeful essays, one among America's sharpest social critics casts a sensible eye over modern tradition to bare the worst—and the best—of our behavior of discourse, traits in schooling, and obsessions with technological novelty. Readers will locate themselves rethinking lots of their bedrock assumptions: should still schooling transmit tradition or guard us opposed to it? Is technological innovation growth or a notably American dependancy? while every body watches a similar tv programs—and tv manufacturers don't discriminate among the audiences for Sesame highway and Dynasty—is youth something greater than a sentimental idea? Writing within the traditions of Orwell and H.L. Mencken, Neil Postman sends surprise waves of wit and demanding intelligence during the cultural barren region.

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As strategically important towns and noble estates fell to the Ottoman troops, Commander Sobieski prepared for war. Lulled into complacency by the poor Polish defence of years past, the Turks were taken by surprise by the blow that Jan Sobieski dealt them one bitterly cold day in November 1673. The Ottoman troops were annihilated: of the 30,000 Turkish soldiers who woke up in the fortress town of Chocim on 10 November only 4,000 survived to see the morning of the 11th. Such was Sobieski’s tactical brilliance that it would be feˆted two hundred years later by no less a military expert than Carl von Clausewitz.

19 CHAPTER 2 OF BAGELS AND KINGS According to legend, the bagel was produced as a tribute to Jan Sobieski, King of Poland, who had just saved Austria from an onslaught by Turkish invaders. In gratitude, a local baker shaped yeast dough into the shape of a stirrup to honor him and called it a ‘beugel’ (Austrian for stirrup). The roll was a hit and it’s [sic] shape soon evolved into the one we know today and it’s [sic] name converted to ‘Bagel’. ‘History of Bagels’ handout, Boston area supermarket Building 19 It would not be surprising if, on his death bed, Jan Sobieski, King of Poland, had hoped that he would be remembered by posterity for his magnificent defeat of the Turks in Vienna in 1683.

But not for much longer. In 1648 embittered Cossack noblemen led by Bohdan Khmielnytsky launched an uprising of murderously resentful peasants against the Polish landlords in the southeast of the OF BAGELS AND KINGS 29 country. As the landlords’ agents, or the people with whom the peasants had the most regular contact, Jews were especial targets of the marauding gangs. The massacres were widespread and the violence savage: tens of thousands of Jews were killed. This marked the beginning of a period so disastrous that it came to be referred to as ‘the Deluge’.

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Conscientious Objections: Stirring Up Trouble About Language, Technology and Education by Neil Postman

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