How a woman raised without education became an Oxbridge historianHistorians in the News
tags: Tara Westover
Tara Westover was a freshman in college when she first heard of the Holocaust.
“I don’t know this word,” she told a professor in class. “What does it mean?”
“There was a silence,” Westover writes in her memoir “Educated” (Random House), out Tuesday. “Not a hush, not a muting of the noise, but utter, almost violent silence . . . The professor’s lips tightened. ‘Thanks for that,’ he said, then returned to his notes.”
Westover’s ignorance was hardly her fault. She had been barred from school for her entire life. Her parents, strict fundamentalist Mormons, had raised their large family on an Idaho mountainside with few books and little interaction with the wider world.
How this unlettered girl zoomed to the heights of academia — a Harvard fellowship, a Cambridge Ph.D. — within the next decade would seem to be a tale of triumph, a portrait of the liberating power of a life of the mind.
For Westover, it’s not so simple.
Westover was born in the family home on Buck’s Peak in southeastern Idaho in 1986, the youngest of seven children. Her father, who nursed paranoid suspicions about the federal government and expected the end times to arrive at any moment, would not permit a hospital birth or reveal her existence to authorities.
She finally got a birth certificate nine years later. An older brother needed one to get a driver’s license and a job, and her father suddenly reversed his 10-year policy against them. ...
comments powered by Disqus
- "People don’t realize": Trump and the historical facts he wants you to know
- Autism doctor Hans Asperger collaborated with the Nazis, new research shows
- University of Wisconsin, Madison to reckon with Ku Klux Klan history, but won't remove KKK member names from buildings
- School responds to assignment asking students to list 'positives' of slavery
- Lost in Battle, Found by Amateur Sleuths: An ‘Unknown’ Marine
- Is Sean Wilentz right that liberals believe in capitalism and progressives don’t?
- Mary Beard cut from US version of “Civilisations"
- Timothy Garton Ash: "We have six months to foil Brexit. And here’s how we can do it.”
- Why the Pulitzer Prize committee keeps ignoring women’s history
- No, we're not reliving the 1960s, says Harvard historian Arne Westad