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Coming Apart (pb)
Author Charles Murray,  PublisherCrown Forum
Format Paperback
List Price $17.00
Sale Price $14.45 (15% off)
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Product Description
The State Of White America, 1960-2010 From the bestselling author of "The Bell Curve" comes a harrowing portrait of the haves and have nots in white America. A startling long-lens view, "Coming Apart" shows how class--not race or ethnicity--is putting the great tensions on the seams of American society.

Drawing on five decades of statistics and research, "Coming Apart" demonstrates that a new upper class and a new lower class have diverged so far in core behaviors and values that they barely recognize their underlying American kinship--divergence that has nothing to do with income inequality and that has grown during good economic times and bad.

The top and bottom of white America increasingly live in different cultures, Murray argues, with the powerful upper class living in enclaves surrounded by their own kind, ignorant about life in mainstream America, and the lower class suffering from erosions of family and community life that strike at the heart of the pursuit of happiness. That divergence puts the success of the American project at risk. The evidence in "Coming Apart" is about white America. Its message is about all of America.

"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 Wilcox, The Wall Street Journal

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

Featured Guest Review on Amazon:
Since the advent of "Occupy Wall Street," there has been a tendency to assume that only the Left worries about inequality in America. Charles Murray's Coming Apart shows that conservatives, too, need to be concerned.

This is an immensely important and utterly gripping book. It deserves to be as much talked about as Murray's most controversial work (co-authored with Richard J. Herrnstein), The Bell Curve. Quite unjustly, that book was anathematized as "racist" because it pointed out that, on average, African-Americans had lower IQ scores than white Americans.

No doubt the same politically correct critics will complain about this book, because it is almost entirely devoted to the problem of social polarization within "white America." They will have to ignore one of Coming Apart's most surprising findings: that race is not a significant determinant of social polarization in today's America. It is class that really matters.

Murray meticulously chronicles and measures the emergence of two wholly distinct classes: a new upper class, first identified in The Bell Curve as "the cognitive elite," and a new "lower class," which he is too polite to give a name. And he vividly localizes his argument by imagining two emblematic communities: Belmont, where everyone has at least one college degree, and Fishtown, where no one has any. (Read: Tonyville and Trashtown.)

The key point is that the four great social trends of the past half-century--the decline of marriage, of the work ethic, of respect for the law and of religious observance--have affected Fishtown much more than Belmont. As a consequence, the traditional bonds of civil society have atrophied in Fishtown. And that, Murray concludes, is why people there are so very unhappy--and dysfunctional.

What can be done to reunite these two classes? Murray is dismissive of the standard liberal prescription of higher taxes on the rich and higher spending on the poor. As he points out, there could hardly be a worse moment to try to import the European welfare state, just as that system suffers fiscal collapse in its continent of origin.

What the country needs is not an even larger federal government but a kind of civic Great Awakening--a return to the republic's original foundations of family, vocation, community, and faith.

Coming Apart is a model of rigorous sociological inquiry, yet it is also highly readable. After the chronic incoherence of Occupy Wall Street, it comes as a blessed relief. Every American should read it. Too bad only the cognitive elite will.
--Niall Ferguson

Product Details
Product Code: 030745343X
Categories: Cultural Trends    Generational Trends    Society    Socio-Political    Ethics    Trends
ISBN-13: 9780307453433
Pages: 430
Primary Audience: All
Year: 2013

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