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Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 Hardcover – Jan 31 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Forum (Jan. 31 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307453421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307453426
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.3 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #147,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"I’ll be shocked if there’s another book this year as important as Charles Murray’s 'Coming Apart.'”
--David Brooks, The New York Times

"Mr. Murray's sobering portrait is of a nation where millions of people are losing touch with the founding virtues that have long lent American lives purpose, direction and happiness."
--W. Bradford WilcoxThe Wall Street Journal

"'Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010' brims with ideas about what ails America."
-- The Economist

“a timely investigation into a worsening class divide no one can afford to ignore.” 
--Publisher's Weekly 

“[Charles Murray] argues for the need to focus on what has made the U.S. exceptional beyond its wealth and military power...religion, marriage, industriousness, and morality.” 
--Booklist (Starred Review)

"Charles Murray ... has written an incisive, alarming, and hugely frustrating book about the state of American society."
--Roger Lowenstein, Bloomberg Businessweek 





 

About the Author

CHARLES MURRAY is the W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He first came to national attention in 1984 with Losing Ground. His subsequent books include In Pursuit, The Bell Curve (with Richard J. Herrnstein), What It Means to Be a Libertarian, Human Accomplishment, In Our Hands, and Real Education. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard and a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He lives with his wife in Burkittsville, Maryland.

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 20 2012
Format: Hardcover
Charles Murray is one of the most distinguished and insightful social scientists of our time. His work over the past few decades has systematically and methodically probed into some of the most consequential and momentous societal and policy issues. Unfortunately, due to the highly politicized and contentious nature of many of such topics, he and his work have been subject to some very severe and withering criticism over the years. It's a testament to Murray's courage, integrity, and intellectual honesty that he stuck to his guns and pursued his research and intellectual interest, often paying a pretty high price in his professional career.

"Coming Apart" is intended as Murray's valedictory. It's a book that crowns his professional career, recapitulates certain points and topics that have long been at the center of his interest, and offers his views of what the future may hold - both for the society and for the research into these issues. It is also a sequel of sorts to "Losing Ground", Murray's seminal 1980s book that explored the consequences (intended and unintended) of various welfare policies between the 1960s and 1980s. That book has pretty much launched Murray's career as a public intellectual, making his influence well beyond the academic and scholarly circles. "Coming Apart" explores the consequences of those same policies over the period of another thirty years of their implementation, ending roughly around the year 2010.

The first two parts of the book are primarily scholarly and descriptive. Here Murray lays down the facts in a very straightforward and informative way. He has always been incredibly adroit at presenting even the most arcane social science data in a way that makes them seem almost effortlessly intuitive.
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By ronbc TOP 500 REVIEWER on Nov. 20 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
It’s not economic inequality that’s causing America’s problems. It’s the moral deterioration of the working class that’s to blame!

Charles Murray knows how to stir up controversy, and "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010," certainly does that.

What you get when you read Charles Murray these days is pretty much what you got when you read Charles Murray a couple of decades ago. Except that this time, his subject isn’t the mental deficiencies of African-Americans and Latinos, but the white lower class’s abandonment of the “founding values” of the country.

The new upper class, the “cognitive elite,” is a function of culture, not money, Murray argues. Consistent with Murray’s libertarianism, he approvingly see this elite as a meritocracy, the members of which retain and practice the core American values of industriousness, honesty, marriage, and religiosity. These, he argues, are the values on which the U.S. was founded, and they are the values that made the country great.

Indeed, it’s Murray’s concern over the decline and possible disappearance of American “exceptionalism” which largely motivates the book. Murray supports his thesis with a ream of charts, all of them looking pretty much the same, with the values of the elite soaring up just as far as the values of the poor sag down. But some of his assumptions — and most of his judgments — are highly questionable.

I don’t intend to summarize all of the content of "Coming Apart." There are many other reviews that do a good job of that. I intend to focus on the underlying assumptions and attitudes that inform Murray’s interpretation of the statistics he parades before his readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rodney Lover on July 27 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent read. Murray tells the story of America through data. Full of insights and charts - quite enjoyed it...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard McCallum on Jan. 9 2013
Format: Hardcover
A stark and disturbing picture of the growing class divide in the US -- between an affluent, educated elite and an increasingly dysfunctional and desperate underclass.

While Murray's analysis of the problem is compelling, his libertarian politics don't allow him to suggest any meaningful solutions. He shares this dilemma with the vast majority of his fellow Americans – rich and poor. As a nation, they prize individual freedom as a fundamental legacy of the pioneers and founding fathers. Their belief system continues to preclude the kind of social democracy and state intervention that has levelled the class playing field in western Europe.

Murray acknowledges the European alternative, but dismisses it as mere statism – godless and corrosive of the human spirit. His views are far too parochial for so complex a subject.
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