The initial source of the original 1967 Third Wave class experiment was teacher Ron Jones’ short story account, first published nationally as “Take As Directed” in The CoEvolution Quarterly in March, 1976. It later appeared in The Whole Earth Catalog, and as “The Third Wave” in Ron’s 1981 book “No Substitute for Madness.” This story was the basis for Norman Lear’s 1981 ABC-TV movie “The Wave.”

The 1981 book “The Wave” by Todd Strasser (aka Morton Rhue) is a novelization of the 1981 Norman Lear movie “The Wave.” Used widely in classrooms around the world, it has sold millions of copies (aka Die Welle, La Ola, La Vague, etc.). Todd is a well known and popular young-adult author, with over 100 books so far – his website is here, an interview with him is here, and a list of his books here. Also, here is a fun article considering his use of the two names.

“The Wave” book by Todd Strasser (aka Mortone Rhue) has been made into an excellent graphic novel – “Die Welle” in Germany, and “La Ola” in Spain. Here is an article about the artist, and more pictures here. We hope to see it in English!


Many articles have been written about the Wave story in its many forms and variations over the years.
Interviews with Jones and several students are in both documentary films (Lesson Plan, and The Invisible Line), as well as in links below.

Ron Jones and Third Wave student interviews:
– April 4, 2017, The East Hampton Press, Jones interview
– 2014 in Israel, Jones video interview
– 2008 on Die Welle set, Jones video interview
– August 13, 2017, Jones video interview in San Francisco
– January 30, 2010, SFGATE, Jones interview for new Wave musical
– May 20, 2012, Kerner TV show interview with Jones, Reit, Neel, Vogel
– December 18, 2019, Stern, Debbie Berry interview
– June 22, 2018, Jerusalem Post, Mark Hancock interview
– and more

General Wave articles:
– In his 2007 book “The Lucifer Effect” Dr. Philip Zimbardo discusses The Wave (pp. 281-283)
– October 6, 2016, Verde Magazine, “The Third Wave at 50” by Cockerell, Lee, Mies
– March 17, 2017, Palo Alto Weekly, “The Wave that changed the world” by Linda Taaffe
– August 31, 2019 “Trading in Freedom…” by Samantak Das in The Telegraph (India)
– March 3, 2016, Huffington Post, “Remembering The Wave” by Suzy Hayman DeYoung (PDF)
– March 11, 2008, Spiegel, “Nazis für fünf Tage” by Christian Hambrecht
– and more

The Wave movie (1981)
– more to come

Die Welle movie (2008)
– August 31, 2008, London Sunday Times, “The Wave shows how to turn children into Nazis” by Jeff Dawson
– September 5, 2008, The Telegraph, “The Wave: the experiment that turned a school into a police state” by Sheila Johnston
– September 16, 2008, The Guardian, “Like history in the first person” by Anthea Lipsett
– September 19, 2008, Review comparing with 1981 story, by Kim Newman
– May 26, 2011, New York Times, “The siren song of groupthink” by Jeannette Catsoulis
Ron Jones visits the Die Welle set during filming (video)
– and more

Lesson Plan documentary (2010)
– May 10, 2011, Libertas Film Magazine, “Experiment in fascism…” film review by Patricia Ducey
– June 7, 2011, KIRO MyNorthwest, video interview with Neel, Jeffery, Hancock by Tom Tangney
– March 4, 2015, Cinema of Change, “Die Welle and Lesson Plan: A Story Told Two Ways” by Matthew Neel
– and more

We Are The Wave miniseries (2019)
– December 7, 2019, Esquire, “…Inspired By an Infamous ’60s High School Experiment…” by Isabella Garces
– and more

Invisible Line documentary (2019)
– December 11, 2019, Mittelbayerische, “Wir sind alle verführbar” by Rupert Sommer
– December 17, 2019, Digital Fernsehen, “‘Die Geschichte der Welle’: Doku-Premiere am Donnerstag” by Florian Potzsch
– May 4, 2020, DOK.fest Munich Film Festival, video interview with Emanuel Rotstein and Mark Hancock
– and more