I was wary of buying this book, but curious enough to give it a shot. My political leanings tend to be more on the liberal side than Mr Sowell, but I get annoyed with the dogma and one sidedness that is so prevalent when discussing politics, and Sowell is a good example of a conservative intellect. While he's not exactly balanced in his own views, he makes his case quite well.
I found the essays on slavery and education to be chalk full of historical information and most convincing of the essays. The black rednecks and white liberals essay used two straw men to make his point that basically, black people are behind in society due to culture and not societal disadvantages. While I praise him for his bravery in delivering some painful truths to American blacks who won't be happy with his criticisms, I think his point is hard to prove, and his anecdotes fail to do this. In fact, most of his points are supported by anecdotes, and he fails to adequately present opposing points of view, other than to mock them. He says early on that solutions will likely involve trade offs, but doesn't really talk about trade offs or solutions. His solution for everything seems to be shut up and work hard, and rejects the notion that we as a society have a responsibility to have the weakest link in our chain be strong enough to hold us together.
With that said, I was nonetheless impressed by this book and another pitch perfect performance by Dion Graham. Sowell's scholarship and historical knowledge are impressive and fascinating. Just be careful not to take his views as gospel.
This is an informative and excellent book and should be a part of everyone's personal library and listed under a study of African American History - Culture. I know much has been said and written about such history but for some reason, studies in this area do not included much of the information contained in this two volume book. The information and the author's writing style will allow you to enjoy this in the same manner that you would enjoy a good novel. Well written, educational, and thought-provoking. Loved it! This is a MUST read since it has so much more to offer to an understanding of African American History.
Excellent book. This will be required reading (at least the chapters on Black Rednecks and Slavery) for my children when they are old enough. The Black Rednecks chapter changed the way I think. The Slavery chapter made me prouder than ever of our history as well as outraging me about the modern left and the anti American slant they take.
This is a remarkable book that really tells it like it is and coming from a black man, no not an "african american" offers a unique perspective. He is simply brilliant in his writings, a true gift that every race should read. I highly recomend this book.
A straight forward assessment of how "Cultural Norms" can be detrimental to whole groups of people. Personal responsibility can never be over emphasized. This book is an indictment against any that would seek to blame others for their own personal shortcomings.
Thomas Sowell demonstrates that the worst in and of mankind is not native to any one race. It is inherent to all races and cultures throughout time.
I hate to say it but I believe this was full of things I already knew. It had really well-researched information and was very well written but for the most part I don't think I gained anything from it. Out of the 13 chapters I think only four of them more worthwhile. A lot of these chapters only required common sense or a basic understanding of politics to understand.