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Race and Culture: A World View Paperback – 26 May 1995

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Product details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; New Ed edition (26 May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465067972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465067978
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 497,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at a number of colleges and universities, including Cornell, University of California Los Angeles, and Amherst. He has published both scholarly and popular articles and books on economics, and is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
Racial, ethnic, and cultural differences among peoples play a major role in the events of our times, in countries around the world, and have played a major role in the long history of the human race. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Jun. 1998
Format: Paperback
Thomas Sowell, a black senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University has aroused much controversy with his 329 page-long book on race and culture. His thesis runs contrary to most current trends in social sciences. And it seems incompatible with most assumptions underlying government policies and established academic notions with regard to racial and ethnic minorities.
Sowell's thesis maintains that differences in productive skills and cultural values are the key to understanding the advancement or regression of ethnic groups. In his opinion, skills and values make up the cultural capital of an ethnic group or of a people, whereas politics, environmental factors and genetics do not play the important roles widely attributed to the success of a group or nation.
Since Sowell's central topic is the universe of values, the reader will easily accept the general layout of his book: a world view. In order to make his universal perspective convincing, Sowell pays his respect to a one page long list of scholars world wide from whose wisdom he has been able to draw.
What is the result of Sowell's approach to "Race and Culture"? We learn that certain peoples have been more or similarly successful than others because of their human capital, their particular pattern of cultural values which enabled them to perform better than others. The Jews are said to have prospered wherever they went in the world because they were experts in the textile business. Italian immigrants we! re often similarly successful in the field of wine production. The Germans are said to have always been successful farmers and craftsmen, and the Chinese succeed everywhere as retailers and restaurant owners.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 May 1996
Format: Paperback
Dr. Sowell describes centuries of turmoil in different parts
of the world involving issues that we mistakenly think of as being
unique to our time and region--the modern United States--like
immigration, affirmative action and slavery.

Take the example of slavery, for instance. Dr. Sowell
chronicles the prevalence of slavery in ALL parts of the
world, involving peoples of all races and geographic origin
at various times over the past 5000 years. Slavery was not
driven by race. Military power was more important in
determining a group's role in the slave trade--whether as
owners, traders or slaves. The British were slaves, to
take a particularly counter-intuitive example, during
the time of the Roman Empire.

Most pages of the book are sprinkled with footnotes which
attest to the exhaustive research that has gone into this
book.

Dr. Sowell also treats the issue of immigration and
assimilation in a similar thorough manner.
In the process, he lays bare the fallacies behind certain
"conclusions" drawn by today's social commentators, e.g.
that the legacy of slavery is responsible for the problems
that certain groups have today.

Instead, Dr. Sowell shows convincingly that it is behavior
and attitudes that are the prime determinant of success and
that groups that maintain these successful traits--which
Dr. Sowell calls the "culture" of a group--tend to prosper
and forge ahead regardless of the surrounding environment.
Some groups have thrived even when having an explicitly
lower citizenship status.
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Thomas Sowell, for a lifetime economist and sociologist of considerable reputation, has - scholarly and intellectually - always been the lone wolf that never howled along with his contemporaries in their self-complacent cirkling around in their fancy mainstream fences. In this sense, he has few companions, but impressive predecessors - Hayek and Friedman, to name the most influencial. He owes a lot of his fame to the unique combination of profound knowledge and unwavering common sense that he possesses - and common sense in the Western World around the year 2000 owes a lot to him.
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