Book Review : Coming Apart

In his latest book, Coming Apart; The State of White America 1960-2010, Charles Murray has written a book that paints a picture of a segment of America that is not often covered by the mainstream media. Murray’s thesis is that there is a widening class gap in the United States today. This class gap is the result of a reoccurring race war. In fact, it is not based on different skin colors at all. This class gap is occurring within what Murray calls “White America”. Through an overabundance of statistical data that is interesting at best and burdensome at worst, Murray shows how these two worlds exist at the same time, yet rarely cross paths.

 In order to prove his point about this ever-widening gap across White America, he introduces the reader to two fictional cities; Belmont and Fishtown. Belmont represents a city of the upper class (defined by Murray as that having a population in the top 5% in both wealth and education). Belmont is marked by the high income family, the college educated, and the culturally affluent. Fishtown, on the other hand, represents the lower class of White America, everything that Belmont is not. Fishtown is marked by the absence of culture, the high school dropout, and the blue-collar worker.

The better part of the book is spent exploring the four areas that Murray believes are the causes for the widening gap in White America: marriage, industriousness, honesty, and religion. Murray does a good job demonstrating how the breakdown in and the inattention to these four areas lead to the gap being widened. I must say that this book is not an easy read. On the contrary, it is laborious at times. It is written in a very scholarly manner and format that reminds me of a textbook for a college socioeconomics class. All in all, a good book about a topic that I was not fully aware of.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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