Save Big On Open-Box & Pre-owned: Buy "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010” from Amazon Warehouse Deals and save 55% off the $27.00 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all Open-Box & Pre-owned offers from Amazon Warehouse Deals.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 Hardcover – January 31, 2012
|New from||Used from|
Up to 50% off select Non-Fiction books
Featured titles are up to 50% off for a limited time. See all titles
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Special Offers and Product Promotions
Featured Guest Review: Niall Ferguson on Coming Apart
Niall Ferguson is professor of history at Harvard, a fellow of the Hoover Institution and the author of numerous books, most recently Civilization: The West and the Rest and The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World.
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.
Top Customer Reviews
Murray says that there are only about four fundamental personal characteristics undergirding a happy life. The ones he names are two character traits: honesty and industry, and two societal connections: meaningful relationships with one's fellow man, and a satisfying marriage. He provides another, overlapping list of four elements that have historically defined American society which he calls the four founding virtues: industriousness, honesty, marriage, and religiosity. He goes into some length presenting sociological surveys that demonstrate the importance and the interconnectedness of these characteristics to personal happiness, and their importance to the well-being of society. If only we could recover them, all would be well.
The backbone of his book is a comparison between two hypothetically constructed communities, Fishtown and Belmont. They are based on real places, predominantly white neighborhoods of Philadelphia and Boston respectively, with incomes at the 8th and 97th national percentiles.Read more ›
Here, Murray explains that white America has grown increasingly divided along class lines. There is a clear moral case being made here. The lower class is falling into illegitimacy, crime, and poverty while the upper class is excelling in education, career, and family. The main cause is simple: primarily, a devaluation of white middle class values brought on by increased intervention by the government. This intervention takes the form of welfare support, in which the government gives incentive for people to break apart families and avoid work. Meanwhile, the upper class is left alone to prosper in its highly technical fields.
This argument will challenge the reader, whether you agree with the central premise or not.Read more ›
From 2000 until today I have lived approximately 10 years outside of the United States. I never "lived" in the United States during the past 12 years; I visited. When I was home, I was either celebrating holiday or beginning a new transition back overseas. Therefore I didn't invest myself; I didn't make the point to overtly observe nor acutely feel some of the growing divisions. Only in this last year, while transitioning to becoming an American again, have these dividing lines been obvious. This realization provoked me to read several interesting books detailing these apparent ruptures. Coming Apart has been an interesting read, because it challenges some of my more progressive leanings. However, the argument Murray makes is compelling, as it addresses some of the more dangerous topics in 21st century discourse: race, intelligence, and government intervention.
Murray's thesis introduces two hypothetical cities: Fishtown and Belmont. These two hypotheticals are based upon real cities with a few alterations: all the inhabitants are white and the age range is 30-49.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Charles Murray wisely, in my opinion, restricted his investigations to white America, thereby preventing his (many) left-wing detractors from characterizing his conclusions and... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Henry K Stanford
At first I thought I had purchased a sociology thesis as the author seemed to over support his case with statistics. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Chuck Warnock
This book is an eye-opener. Murray is an even-handed researcher and author who provides the reader with some great insights into where this country appears to be moving, and why we... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Howard Giordano
Charles murray set the stage for welfare reform with his extraordinary book, Losing Ground. Now he has set the stage for a revival of American civic culture and American... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Newt Gingrich
One of the best researched and well organized books I have read in quite a while. The information included can be quite sobering, but the impact needs to be understood and... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Dan Ryan
Murray wrote "Coming Apart" almost 5 years ago and the book is wearing it's age well. It's a simple and compelling picture of America, not an argument, he is documenting... Read morePublished 28 days ago by Steven Bogden
This book explained a lot to me. I appreciate the time it took to write all this down. I bought a paper copy to share with family...Published 1 month ago by Barbara B. Horton
The topic is even more important during the current 2016 election cycle. Provides empirical data on the super zip codes in the three principal power zones: west coast, east coast,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by George6328