by Антон Макаренко
Another ancient book, I`m afraid... It`s documentary, but it can be read as fiction, and no kidding! It`s not worse than "Tom Sawyer" in the sense of adventure, and it`s better than "The Grapes of Wrath" in the sense of hopes. The adventure is of another kind, quite, and the hopes are to be shattered, but it doesn`t really matter. You see, the author did not know what was to come a coupla decades later, so it`s just we readers of much later generation(s) that might know, but our knowledge is of the kind that can affect neither the facts nor the book.
1920, the World War I and the Revolution already (almost?) in the past. There are lots of homeless children, some orphaned, some not really, yet all of them need help and food and shelter and at least a kind of home. One of those asked (well... ordered...) to take care of the children is Anton Makarenko. He`s given some money, a meagre sum, yet better than nothing, and some ruin of a building, and he has to take care of homeless, parentless and already kinda criminal children. He does what`s in his power and much more, and - believe it or not - he succeeds... mostly...
Readers of today might find the book awful or silly, and most certainly ideologically wrong. Yet it`s how it was in real life, and what`s important, to my mind, is those children and their tutors achieving much because of their belief (in wrong things, some might say, but does it really matter?) and responsibility and hard hard hard work. One of the important things to be found in the book is Code of Honour; and Thieves` Code of Honour transformed into Community Code of Honour is something, isn`t it? Because most of the children sheltered and taught by Anton Semenovich Makarenko and his fellow-teachers had been thieves and crooks and even bandits before they came to the "School for Underage Criminals", as it was named at first.
The book is written in Russian, and it`s been translated into some languages, but I`d say it`s really worth being brought outa oblivion and translated into even more languages, as it is well worth reading, regardless of the fact that it is kinda obsolete. First of all, it is informative; second of all, it is interesting and even funny, if you like that kind of fun. But what I like best about it is it would give the educational specialists of nowadays the CREEPS!