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Up from the Projects: An Autobiography 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0817912550
ISBN-10: 081791255X
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  • Up from the Projects: An Autobiography
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"When I finished reading Up from the Projects, I wished it had been a longer book. But it got the job done—and its insights are much needed today."
--Thomas Sowell, the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution

Book Description

Nationally syndicated columnist and prolific author Walter E. Williams recalls some of the highlights and turning points of his life. From his lower middle class beginnings in a mixed but predominantly black neighborhood in West Philadelphia to his department chair at George Mason University, Williams tells an “only in America” story of a life of achievement.

Williams describes the influences of his early years—such as the teachers who demanded his best efforts and made no excuses for him—and tells how his two years in the army became an important part of his maturation process, in spite of the racism he encountered. He recounts his early time getting established in Los Angeles—getting his B.A., going on to grad school at UCLA, and beginning his teaching career. And he tells how his subsequent move to the Urban Institute in Washington opened his eyes to how decisions are really made in D.C.

When he recounts ultimately accepting his professorship appointment at George Mason University, the author marvels that “I never thought I’d be working there thirty years later.” And throughout the book, Willams refers to the immeasurable contribution of his wife of 48 years, who shared his vision through hard work and love.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Hoover Institution Press; 1 edition (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081791255X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817912550
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #838,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading Dr. Walter E. Williams autobiography after seeing it recommended by Dr. Thomas Sowell and Mark Levin. I read the book cover to cover in one night and the book really kept my attention since I couldn't put it down. Readers will find this book reveals the human side of Dr.Williams.

The book starts off with Walter's days as a youngster when he worked various and multiple jobs. Also the book sheds light on what life was like growing up in the projects was not dangerous like it is today. The book then transitions into his days in the military and how Dr. Williams created some mischief by doing his job "integrating" his unit. After his time with the military Walter went back to school and earned a PhD in economics from UCLA. His experience in graduate school I feel would inspire anyone wishing to go to graduate school. Walter meets some challenges like failing his microeconomics field exam. However, Walter is able to overcome this since his teachers want believe he can pass if he works hard.

The last section of the book focuses on his teaching career and how he would not tolerate nonsense from anyone (black or white). One theme that can clearly be seen throughout the book is how Walter is a radical in many different ways. An underlying element of this book is how strong Walter's work ethic is. His early days as a kid working various jobs demonstrated how Walter was always busy and out of trouble. One part I enjoyed was how Walter and his sister spent weekends at the library and reading books. Today this behavior by any student would be considered abnormal. The book even mentions how Walter did get into trouble with the law a few times even when he wasn't at fault.
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This is a great relation of how, no matter what the obstacles may be, that one can achieve both very satisfying personal and professional levels. As one similar in age to Dr. Williams, I could relate to the times and experiences he encountered. It should be a good example to young people of today. It also serves as an example for why some of our educational methods continue to not produce students who can succeed in life. You can also conclude from the experiences how the government efforts to pour money into attempts solve societal issues has resulted in the more issues rather than less.
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Walter Williams is well-known to many for his succinct incisive evaluation of many topics. He is unfailingly fair about his evaluation of the enslavement of black people by liberals through their fraudulent agenda of civil rights. He made his way from virtual poverty to top-drawer academic success through hard work and honest appraisal of often controversial issues. This fine little book documents that wonderful story of success through personal effort and some honest good fortune.
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The always independent and amusing Dr. Williams' very short biography is fun to read and there were a few times I laughed aloud. It portrays the life of poor black Americans when families were still intact, and work was readily available for teenagers. Although he is a conservative economist of the Milton Friedman school (I am really simplifying here), he maintains his own unique take on a wide variety of subjects. Until he married, Mr Williams was in trouble with the law and with every sort of authority figure imaginable, even to the point of a considered court martial. I seldom feel that a book should have been longer, but in this case, I do. My guess is that he is a private person and was not inclined to say more than he did.
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Walter E.Williams, PHD is one of the two best living teachers of economics, the other being Thomas Sowell, PHD. And, yes it is important that these men are black men between 70+ and 80+ years old, who grew up in a time when public education actually educated. If you are interested in teaching your children the truth about race in American, you can do no better than to use these two men as exemplars of possibilities fulfilled in this wonderful land of opportunity. The importance of Walter E. Williams book 'Up From the Projects' is that it traces his humble beginnings to his present success and illustrates that through his dedication to the work ethic anyone can rise above their circumstances. Both men were not nose to the grindstone kids in public school, but through the influence of a parent or mentors were taught that they could demand better of themselves. I highly recommend this book to parents and hope that they will encourage their youngsters to read it and discuss it with them. Although radical in his earlier years, he confronted racial incidents in his young adulthood with biting and intelligent humor, which made his points without obvious anger. Within the context of his successful and well lived life, Dr. Williams tells of his many years with the love of his life, Mrs. Williams, that produced a beautiful, intelligent daughter. Aside from being a great teacher of economics, Dr. Walter E. Williams is an adorable curmudgeon and an inspiration.
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Professor Williams' life story came to us due to the urging of his daughter, for which I'm grateful. It isn't a thick book, at 142 pages if I'm remembering right, but if you admire him as I do, every page holds interest. I certainly recommend it.
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