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The Shadow Scholar
Cover of The Shadow Scholar
The Shadow Scholar
How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat
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Last fall, a writer using the pseudonym Ed Dante wrote an explosive article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, confessing to writing term papers for a living. Technically, they are "study guides," and the companies that sell them-there are quite a few-are completely legal and easily found with Google. For about $10-20 a page, Dante's former employers will give you a custom essay, written to your specifications. During Dante's career, he wrote made-to-order papers for everything from introductory college courses to Ph.D. dissertations. There was never a shortage of demand. The Shadow Scholar is Dante's account of this dubious but all-too-relevant career. In stories embarrassing, absurd, hilarious, and ultimately sobering, he explores not merely his own misdeeds but the bureaucratic and cash-hungry colleges, lazy students, and even misguided parents who helped make it all possible.With unemployment pushing 10 percent and many college grads living with their parents, the need for this book has never been more urgent. As this bitingly funny memoir reveals, colleges and graduate schools are victims not merely of tough economic times but of a profound sense of entitlement and apathy. Here is a searing, often maddening indictment of the big business of college.

Last fall, a writer using the pseudonym Ed Dante wrote an explosive article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, confessing to writing term papers for a living. Technically, they are "study guides," and the companies that sell them-there are quite a few-are completely legal and easily found with Google. For about $10-20 a page, Dante's former employers will give you a custom essay, written to your specifications. During Dante's career, he wrote made-to-order papers for everything from introductory college courses to Ph.D. dissertations. There was never a shortage of demand. The Shadow Scholar is Dante's account of this dubious but all-too-relevant career. In stories embarrassing, absurd, hilarious, and ultimately sobering, he explores not merely his own misdeeds but the bureaucratic and cash-hungry colleges, lazy students, and even misguided parents who helped make it all possible.With unemployment pushing 10 percent and many college grads living with their parents, the need for this book has never been more urgent. As this bitingly funny memoir reveals, colleges and graduate schools are victims not merely of tough economic times but of a profound sense of entitlement and apathy. Here is a searing, often maddening indictment of the big business of college.

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About the Author-
  • Dave Tomar is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer and a graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. In 2010, Tomar authored an article entitled The Shadow Scholar under the pseudonym Ed Dante. The article, detailing his decade of experience as an academic ghostwriter, highlighted the issues of cheating and the need for reform in higher education. The Shadow Scholar became the most read article in the history of The Chronicle of Higher Education and received special citation from The Education Writers Association. Dave Tomar has also been a regular contributor to The Perpetual Post.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2012
    Expanding on his 2010 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, written under the name "Ed Dante," Tomar offers a book-length account of his decade writing research papers for college students on any topic and at any length. For the most part, the author blames the system for his misdeeds. His overpriced degree from Rutgers never got him further than "fluid bottler" at a shady cleaning company. "As it turned out," he writes, "helping students cheat on papers was the only available job for which my college had prepared me." Besides, he reasons, there would be no need for his service if the current generation of entitled, Facebook-addicted, subliterate brats hadn't been raised to think they could buy their way through anything. Also, he was good at it, routinely burning through sleepless, frantic weeks spewing out lightning-speed papers, sometimes as many as seven per day. His work became impressively ambitious. Sure Samuel Johnson could write Rasselas in a week, but could he have churned out a 160-page paper with 50 sources on "international financial reporting standards" in a mere five days? Although his book suffers from some obvious padding, as he wanders in and out of stories involving his love life, poker buddies and psychotic road trips, Tomar is a funny guy who writes with slangy, over-the top verve, veering between self-justification and self-hatred. He also provides some genuine inside dirt on the business practices of sleazy for-profit colleges, who provide some of his steadiest clients. A cynical, guilt-obsessed, intermittently page-turning account of a first-class bullshit artist and his never-ending search for redemption.

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    October 1, 2012

    This memoir is the sequel to Tomar's article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, published under the pseudonym Ed Dante and the most-read article in the publication's history. Fueled by resentment toward an educational system that he feels defrauded him, Tomar became a ghostwriter for undergraduate-, masters-, and doctoral-level students. Because they were willing to pay and he was willing to do the work, Tomar thought of himself as a pragmatic, albeit unethical, opportunist. He explains how he came to write college papers for cash, why students cheat, and what he thinks is broken about the system. Much of what Tomar has to say about American education may be true, but two things make one wonder how much of his story is fabrication and exaggeration: his propensity for emotionally charged ranting and his questionable character. VERDICT The result is that Tomar's account of higher education asks more questions than it answers. If you read the article "The Shadow Scholar" and want to know more about Tomar's motivations and opinions, this book is for you.--Julia A. Watson, Marywood Univ. Lib., Scranton, PA

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat
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