An interesting book, I have not previously read anything by Gatto though I have heard his name mentioned before in a few lectures on education and his is the first piece in what is essentially a number of essays collected together into this book. Its quite possible that most of what is found in this book can be found elsewhere in either the other books of Gatto or the lectures of Hamza Yusuf so if you are familiar with any of these individuals it may be worth checking up on the contents of this book before purchase as you may be just reading what you already know/have.
The first essay by Gatto is interesting and concentrates on the development and structure of education in the US (The book is very American centred though there is plenty of relevance to UK education) His criticism being that children's education far from being developed in the education system is in fact being stunted and children kept in a state of extended "childhood" and indoctrinated into a system where they are passive consumers rather than thinking individuals. He points to the origin of this system being in pre WW1 Germany to help develop ideal citizens and later fine tuned in the UK. He says far from children over the past 50 or so years being better educated, education has in fact regressed. He points to self made men who have had little formal education, people who have even married young things that he says run contrary to the view of modern education.
Hamza Yusuf presents an Islamic view point of education while also repeating much of Gattos view point on the failings of modern education. The last chapter is quite interesting as it covers the development of young minds and how play should be encouraged below the age of seven rather than pushing towards formal education. How this helps with a child's emotional development as he/she beings to "Think and feel as others do" By using imagination and by also using imagination create a world more complex that its humble surroundings (Think how a child can make a stick a horse or an old box a castle)
Its only a small book and really its more of an introduction to further reading, that being said its interesting none the less.
Insightful narratives, and good counsel, easy to read, and for anyone that is interested in understanding how modern institutions of education is hindering the character development, empowerment, and abilities of our children.