This is the third and last volume in Thomas Sowell's "Cultures" trilogy ("Race and Culture" and "Migrations and Culture" precede it). It is every bit as cogent and well-argued as the first two books - indeed, as every book Sowell has written.
I suggest reading (or listening to: the reader has a baritone similar to Sowell's, not quite James Earl Jones, but in that territory) the whole trilogy; when you've done that, I promise you Sowell's explanations of human cultural history will make sense to you on a gut level like (probably) no history you learned in school ever did.
Sowell has an unsurpassed knack for explaning complex topics in simple, lucid terms; he doesn't obfuscate with jargon or rhetorical sleights-of-hand as do writers won't don't actually have a full grasp of their topics but want to appear smart. There is just no honest way to come away from reading (or listening to) this writer's books and not be convinced that he has mastered his topic and helped clarify your own understanding of it. This should be refreshing to anyone who's had to suffer through the likes of Michel Foucault and his ilk - people who write outrageously complicated nonsense about simple things. Sowell is the opposite of such writers: he writes clearly, lucidly and honestly about complex topics.
Check him out.
First off, Jeff Riggenbach is a heck of a reader, the kind of deep-voiced authoritative narrator that is now pretty much a throw-back to a bygone era. A great reading voice is no small thing; I've listened to great books that were poorly read - like Milton Friedman's "Money Mischief" - and a bad reading voice can easily ruin the experience. (I never finished "Money Mischief".)
That said, this book does a very good job of explaining the libertarian viewpoint; however, it stops short of what true libertarians aim for. The author takes for granted that we need government for this and that and the other thing, without bothering to explain why. I'm always suspicious of books that make broad, sweeping claims about things that affect everyone's life while affecting the wink-and-nudge attitude that those claims somehow are self-evident - that it would be a waste of time to even think of defending them.
For someone who really wants to understand true, unadulterated libertarianism, Murray N. Rothbard's "For a New Liberty" is a far superior book. Rothbard's book is clear, consistent, comprehensive and (yet) concise (event though it clocks in at over 15 hours). Rothbard argues against ANY government - if this sounds loopy to you, listen to his arguments. The man is brilliant. And that book is narrated by Jeff Riggenbach too.
This book provides the basics for thinking clearly about economics, a subject that affects us all. In the current political climate such a primer is needed more than ever.Highly recommended - indeed, highly encouraged!
Thomas Sowell's books are gems. His clear-thinking presentation and analysis are second to none. This book is aptly named (some of his other books aren't): it is truly a world view of enduring traits inherent to racial/ethnic groups. His debunking of politicians' and (so-called) intellectuals' posturing and self-serving demagoguery alone is worth the price of admission. To any intelligent and open-minded reader/listener, this will prove a refreshing and oh-so-satisfying bulwark against official p.c. b.s. Not all of Sowell's facts are quite straight: for one thing, although socially harmful French-Canadian separatists did in fact engage in terrorism, Pierre Trudeau most definitely did NOT come to power on a "French Power" platform sympathetic to the terrorists; Trudeau was in fact utterly opposed to special, affirmative-action-type treatment of French Canadians, and as Prime Minister he invoked the War Measures Act to ferret out those FLQ terrorists and bring them to justice (they are now teaching in universities, through no fault of Trudeau's). There are a couple of other such blunders (I counted 3 in all) but, regardless of those, Sowell's big-picture presentation is FAR better than any other writer's on this topic.
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