Official Review: Death of a College by Robert M Dixon

Use this section to discuss drama books and poetry books. Drama includes plays but not novels. This includes work by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Miller etc. Poetry anthologies can also go here.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
Post Reply
User avatar
Tomah
Posts: 1110
Joined: 05 Feb 2018, 02:21
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 114
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-tomah.html
Latest Review: Dying to See You by Micky Havelock

Official Review: Death of a College by Robert M Dixon

Post by Tomah »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Death of a College" by Robert M Dixon.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played an important role in shaping American society by providing opportunities to African Americans, especially before the Civil Rights Act. Martin Luther King, Oprah Winfrey, and Kamala Harris are a few of their notable alumni. Their relevance to the current United States has been continuously questioned, however, and they face significantly high rates of accreditation sanctions. Many of them have either closed or remained open in name only. Each case is unique and involves several factors, but Robert M. Dixon's Death of a College grants us insight into a falling institution, its struggles, and the interests surrounding it.

The book, written as a play, is divided into four acts. It follows Stonewood College during the 1980s as Dr. Jason E. Hammer, the recently appointed president, tries to prevent its downfall and loss of accreditation. He soon finds himself in a massive web of conspiracies and corruption from both within and outside the institution. Despite being a fictional account, the story is informed by the author's experience in higher education; this is evident by the richness in detail when it comes to the administrative proceedings and complex politics.

Though the story is predominantly plot-centered with minimal individual focus on the characters, you can follow and enjoy it even without any knowledge or interest in the inner workings of colleges. At its core, the book is a spectacle of human drama where loyalty and hard work compete with intrigue, manipulation, and incompetence.

While it would have been easy to paint a simplistic scenario of good versus evil, the plot thrives in its wide, sophisticated web of motivations. There are those with ambiguous intentions, selfish individuals who have even fooled themselves into thinking they are virtuous, well-meaning people blinded by shortsightedness, and many other interesting characters. Dr. Hammer is a particularly fascinating protagonist: competent and devoted to the cause but prone to making mistakes due to inexperience and fear.

The author employs an interesting narrative device in the form of Waverly Bennings, who served as dean of the faculty from 1920 to 1960. Despite being dead, he shows up as a commentator from time to time to unveil hidden details, provide a different perspective, and highlight Stonewood's history and principles, making the reader more invested in the college. His sparse appearances enhance his impact; indeed, he is absent from many of the more engaging moments near the climax, allowing the story to speak for itself.

Death of a College is a masterful drama that will appeal to readers who enjoy complex character dynamics. It is also a great read for those interested in higher education, especially HBCUs. Due to the several errors and instances of awkward comma usage I found, however, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. I don't recommend the story if you prefer character-driven narratives with deep psychological exploration. There are only a few borderline profanities and no mature content, so the book is suitable for many audiences.

******
Death of a College
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

User avatar
MsH2k
Member of the Month
Posts: 1500
Joined: 31 Jul 2019, 11:11
Favorite Book: Crushing
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 152
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-msh2k.html
Latest Review: The Robin That Could Not Sing by Raymond Dunn

Post by MsH2k »

This is a very interesting way to approach this dilemma. My parents both went to HBCUs—before they were called HBCUs. :D I would expect that the author has woven real-life scenarios into this fictitious plot.
I think I’ll check out this one. Thanks for a great review!
Just because someone may not be able to handle the truth doesn’t give you a pass to lie to them.
#229
Last Words From Above (Jeremy Brown)

User avatar
rahilshajahan
Posts: 659
Joined: 17 Jul 2020, 14:38
2019 Reading Goal: 100
Currently Reading: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Bookshelf Size: 96
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rahilshajahan.html
Latest Review: We are Voulhire: The Flesh of the Mind by Matthew Tysz

Post by rahilshajahan »

Wow! This book has all the things I'm looking for: historical relevance, drama and a bit of suspense. Thanks for an insightful review!
"Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak." - Steve Wright

User avatar
Ellylion
Posts: 1664
Joined: 01 Mar 2019, 15:33
Favorite Book: The Altitude Journals
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 51
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ellylion.html
Latest Review: Worldlines by Adam Guest

Post by Ellylion »

Although I prefer character-driven stories, this one sounds quite intriguing :) But really sorry about all the issues! Thanks for a great review!

User avatar
Dominik_G
Posts: 494
Joined: 29 Jun 2020, 14:45
Currently Reading: Secret Window
Bookshelf Size: 26
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dominik-g.html
Latest Review: This is Not a Lie by S.C. Farrow

Post by Dominik_G »

I'm personally more interested in character-driven stories when it comes to fiction so Death of a College might not be the perfect choice for me, however, I enjoyed reading your well-written review. Thank you!

Post Reply

Return to “Drama and Poetry Books”