The Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher’s Intimate Investigation into the Problem of Modern Schooling, by John Taylor Gatto, published in 2000, is a great read on the history of education in the US.

Gatto (1935-2018) grew up near Pittsburgh, taught 30 years in the New York City public schools, and was thrice New York City Teacher of the Year and twice New York State Teacher of the Year. He resigned from teaching in 1991 and wrote an opinion piece, printed by the Wall Street Journal, stating he could no longer “hurt kids to make a living.” He went on to enjoy a successful speaking and writing career as he strove to reform education.

Underground History (published in 2000 by Oxford Village Press) was out of print in 2020 and expensive as a used book. It is now in print again as a paperback, but still costly. You can check WorldCat to see if it is at a library near you. Or you can read the book free online at by clicking the links below. Gatto authorized Lew Rockwell to post the book as a series of articles; however, Rockwell failed to create a table of contents that links to the book’s chapters. For this reason, this page should prove helpful, because it contains links to all of the chapters.

Gatto suffered two major strokes in 2011, which accounts for his slow speech in later years. His YouTube channel is here.