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The Best One Hour History

Author: Robert Freeman

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Robert Freeman

Robert Freeman teaches the Modern European History AP course at Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California. His classes are among the highest performing in the nation on the annual College Board Advanced Placement Examination in Modern European History. He is formerly Vice President of International Marketing at Sybase and the founder of the national non-profit, One Dollar For Life. He holds a B.S. Degree in Economics from Santa Clara University and an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Robert Freeman has lived a varied life, to say the least. Before finishing college he spent several years in the U.S. Merchant Marines. After college he joined the computer industry in Silicon Valley, CA. He rose quickly through the ranks, becoming Japan Country Manager for 3Com, then the largest data networking company in the world, and Vice President, International Marketing at Sybase, one of the largest software companies in the world.

While on a sabbatical in the year 2000, he became bored and started substitute teaching at his local high school. He loved it and never went back. He started by teaching math, but soon found himself teaching social studies when one of the school's teachers fell ill. He was horrified at how bad the textbooks were, little more than compendiums of facts dumped onto a page. No narrative. Little context. No human interest. The students hated the books and, therefore, the subject. Mr. Freeman believed he could do better.

He started writing chapters for his students on what he called "the epochal turning points in the unfolding of the Western World." Greece; Rome; the Renaissance; the Reformation; the Enlightenment; and so on. It was at these junctures that the Western World made critical decisions about how to move forward. Many times it fought it out about which way to go. Each of these turning points are explosive with original human drama, both individual and civilizational. He decided to write and teach history that way. The result is The Best One-Hour History series. Mr. Freeman's students score among the highest in the nation on the annual College Board Advanced Placement (AP) examinations.

While teaching, Mr. Freeman recognized the longing teenagers have for meaning and efficacy in their lives. So, he founded One Dollar For Life (ODFL), a national non-profit that helps students build schools and other infrastructure projects in the developing world, for a dollar. The goal is to show a generation of young people how to be effective by being connected, compassionate, collaborative, competent, and creative. It's working. Since starting in 2007, ODFL has completed 41 projects in 8 different countries, from Asia to Central America to the Caribbean to Africa.

“This is one of the best one hours I’ve ever invested.”
      - Paul Gallagher, Oracle Corporation