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Scan Artist
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Scan Artist

How Evelyn Wood Convinced the World That Speed-Reading Worked

TRUE CRIME

240 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, Mobipocket, PDF, EPUB

Cloth, $26.99 (CA $35.99) (US $26.99)

Publication Date: September 2019

ISBN 9781641601627

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Sep 2019)

eBook

eBook Editions Available

Will it work on my eReader?
Not Yet Published. Estimated release date: September 2019
 

Overview

The true story of the schoolmarm who pulled off the greatest hoax of the 20th century

The best-known educator of the 20th century was a scammer in cashmere. "The most famous reading teacher in the world," as television hosts introduced her, Evelyn Wood had little classroom experience, no degrees in reading instruction, and a background that included cooperation with the Third Reich. Nevertheless, a nation spooked by Sputnik and panicked by paperwork eagerly embraced her promises of a speed-reading revolution. Journalists, lawmakers and two US presidents lent credibility to Wood's claims of turbocharging reading speeds through a method once compared to the miracle at Lourdes. A royal-born Wood grad said she'd polished off Moby Dick in three hours; a senator swore he finished one book per lunchtime. Fudging test results, and squelching critics, Wood founded a company that enrolled half a million. The course's popularity endured even as science proved that her system taught only skimming, with disastrous effects on comprehension. As apps and online courses attempt to spark a speed-reading revival, this engaging look at Wood's rise from missionary to marketer exposes the pitfalls of wishful thinking.

Author Biography

Marcia Biederman has contributed more than 150 articles to the New York Times, writing about everything from ice dancing to automobile wheel repair. She was a staff reporter for Crain's New York Business and an editor for Chain Store Age. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, the New York Observer and Newsday. She is also the author of Popovers and Candlelight: Patricia Murphy and the Rise and Fall of a Restaurant Empire. She lives in New York.