Los Alamos--The Ranch School Years, 1917-1943 Info

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Twenty-five years before the Manhattan Project created the town
of Los Alamos, the Pajarito Plateau was home to an elite prep school for
boys, ages twelve to eighteen. The Los Alamos Ranch School combined a
robust outdoor life and a carefully cultivated wilderness experience
with a rigorous academic program and the structured discipline of a Boy
Scout troop, perfectly mirroring the Progressive Era's quest for
perfection.

John Wirth's father, Cecil, taught at the school and
directed its summer camp. John spent his early childhood at the school
along with his brother Tim, later a U.S. Senator from Colorado. Drawing
on oral accounts, memoirs, and archival documents, as well as John's
firsthand knowledge and family lore, the authors situate the school
within the educational trends of the day and New Mexico's cultural
milieu.

Wirth and Aldrich examine the influence of the school's
controversial director, Albert J. Connell, who was roundly disliked by
two of the best-known students, Gore Vidal and William S. Burroughs.
Many other students reported their time at the school to be a profoundly
positive, often life-changing, experience. Additional chapters recount
the growing-up experiences of ranch workers' children and the role the
school played in their lives and those of area residents.


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