SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat

. 2012. 272p. 978-1-60819-723-1. 25.
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This memoir is the sequel to Tomar’s article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, published under the pseudonym Ed Dante and the most-read article in the publication’s history. Fueled by resentment toward an educational system that he feels defrauded him, Tomar became a ghostwriter for undergraduate-, masters-, and doctoral-level students. Because they were willing to pay and he was willing to do the work, Tomar thought of himself as a pragmatic, albeit unethical, opportunist. He explains how he came to write college papers for cash, why students cheat, and what he thinks is broken about the system. Much of what Tomar has to say about American education may be true, but two things make one wonder how much of his story is fabrication and exaggeration: his propensity for emotionally charged ranting and his questionable character.
VERDICT The result is that Tomar’s account of higher education asks more questions than it answers. If you read the article “The Shadow Scholar” and want to know more about Tomar’s motivations and opinions, this book is for you.

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