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

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group, Division of Random House Inc (31 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307453421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307453426
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.3 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 490,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010

Much of Charles Murrays recent work has been very predictive/prophetic; as is this. It defines and details the condition of the new white working class in America and illustrates its development since the 1960's and how this correlates with a progressive deviation from the founding father's(of the US) combined pillars of strength, industriousness, marriage, virtue and religiosity. We can see all this here, in Britain and it augurs badly for us. A must read, if you care about these things, if you have read The Bell Curve and others or if you care about the future for your children. A bit chewy at first but graphically (literally) illustrated and accessible to all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. Charles Murray argues that a lot of American ( and probably English as well) social problems are caused by the collapse of old fashioned values. Speaking for myself I realize that the case of every single mother is different but there is no getting away from the fact in my opinion that the rise of single mothers is detrimental to society. This is Charles Murray's thesis and he argues it well.
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Format: Hardcover
Don't let Mr. Murray controversial Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life or the criticism you might already heard from this book from keep you away from this brilliant work. As opposed to most recent books dealing with America's decline, this book looks at the cultural and sociological reasons behind the decline, rather than the pure economics view. And another key issue is that the analysis is done using only white Americans as a sample, so there the results are free of any racial bias, and the results are extended to the entire population only near the end of the book.

Nevertheless, Mr. Murray, a declared libertarian, closes the book with a chapter totally biased by his political and moral beliefs. Actually, some of his conclusions are so outrageous, I stopped reading the book short of a few pages to the end (but I did finish it after all). You just wondered how come someone can deliver such a brilliant analysis and reach such wishful thinking, biased and subjective conclusions completely ignoring the effects of globalization and technological change (thus the four star rating instead of five).

Several of the conclusions are so disconnected from reality, that instead of Europe, Mr. Murray just need to look at any of the dozens of developing countries with the same problems among the poor who do not enjoy the welfare benefits Americans do. In fact, just look at the Brazilian example and the well-known "favelas" as the perfect real life example in contradiction of one of his key conclusions.
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