Through a series of essays, Sowell presents an in-depth look at key beliefs behind many policies and trends. He presents eye-opening insights into the development of the ghetto culture, a culture cheered on toward self-destruction by white liberals who consider themselves "friends" of blacks.
Black Rednecks and White Liberals is the capstone of decades of outstanding research and writing on racial and cultural issues by Thomas Sowell.
©2005 Thomas Sowell; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
"These vigorously argued essays present a stimulating challenge to the conventional wisdom." (Publishers Weekly)
Thomas Sowell's scholarly expertise does not fail to disappoint in this enlightening book. Far from rendering blanket opinions, Dr. Sowell provides the reader/listener with an exceedingly well-sourced (but not at all dry) account of the origins of so-called "African American culture".
But the best surprise is that this book goes far beyond what the title appears to imply. Sowell provides one of the must elucidating explanations of the seemingly maniacal worldwide hatred of Jews that I have ever heard. He explains the role of the "middleman minority" and how their rational economic behavior often translates into class and ethnic stereotyping and hatred.
This book is a hard one to put down, and despite its scholarly merits, does not lull the reader into unconsciousness. Indeed, Sowell's writing style (the first book of his I've ever read) is crisp, clear, engaging, and always thought provoking. A solid narrative performance is also offered by Hugh Mann.
I've read a number of books by Thomas Sowell. This one is at least as good as any I've read. Dr. Sowell discusses a number of topics related to race and culture that need to be discussed but aren't. As always, his writing is clear, concise and flows off the page. If you read one book this year, make it this one.
This book was much better than I expected, given the unusual title. He builds upon the thesis that regional differences in American culture derive from variations in immigration patterns from Britain (who, where, when) which is covered in Albion's Seed, another good book (by a different author). He then adds generations of enslaved blacks living among one of these cultures and indirectly picking up behaviour and speech patterns derived indirectly from a certain time and place in Britain. He contrasts the results where blacks were not exposed to this culture, by not being enslaved or being enslaved elsewhere.
His history of Dunbar High School in DC was inspiring or threatening, depending on whether you believe blacks were as capable of competence as other immigrants or believe they need to be treated patronizingly forever, respectively. Dr. Sowell states that lack of enrollment restrictions and the parent's occupations did not make the students the cream of the crop, as the parent's occupations were maid, porter, etc., and that one third of DC blacks were going to Dunbar HS. Hence the earier nagative review.
The real treat in the book is the massive expansion of his treatment of "middle men" minorities (e.g. Jews, Chinese, Aremenians, etc), and why they are sometimes hated and periodically slaughtered.
Despite the title, this book has world wide scope.
This was a great book.
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 book is an extraordinary example of clear, honest, and insightful thinking about people, culture, and history. Although the title would indicate that the book is entirely about some specific segments of American black culture and the white liberals who promote and seek to perpetuate such ills, it is actually broader in overall subject matter. Dr. Sowell, however, sticks close to his purpose as he ranges across time and geography, history and ideas. And his purpose is to draw a bead on the terrible damage done by the dishonesty and revisionism of self-serving and self-proclaimed moral and intellectual thinkers, teachers, demagogues, and other voices who are reported in the media. These, who Sowell sometimes refers to as the Anointed, seek to set those of us who they believe are not so blessed on the path of true moral perception and right thinking, and by their position in academia or politics have largely achieved their objective.
Thomas Sowell's ideas may be novel to many who have not looked beyond the classroom, the newspaper, or the television. If any would read this book, they will find reason and understanding supported by a world of facts, not selected facts. His presentation is clear, understandable, and easily absorbed by any people who care to think for themselves. This book is not a dry discourse or dissertation written expressly for scholars, but a lively and entertaining education. The narrator is excellent. Give it a listen.
Non-Fiction, Science, Tech, History & Business
I can not recommend Mr. Sowell's work highly enough, he is a rational treasure who has rare ability to expand the mind of any reader, regardless of political views. I've bought and enjoyed 7 of his books, but this book has a political creep. I love Mr. Sowell's more political books like Visions and Intellectuals, but this book has a Hybrid feel to it where at times he moves between is views and his other Work a little too easily for my taste. I don't mean to say this is a bad book or you shouldn't read it, in fact I did still very much enjoy it, but you should know what you are getting.
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.
I is a pretty good reader. Ooops. I mean....I is a good listener. --24 per year Platinum
Thomas Sowell book has taught me that history is the foundation to understanding ideologies, both economic and political.
Initially, the title seemed extreme to me -- BUT right away, this book is a history lesson. When I say to friends, "Do you know where the word 'redneck' came from?", they all give the same answer I had before listening to this book.
This book is a good investment, especially if you want to understand how history has shaped some of the radical thinking of today.
Thomas Sowell has again shown that he is a think tank of our age. His wisdom and logic cannot be defeated at face, as shown by Elton's weak criticism. One can get away with demagoguery on a TV clip or sign waved in a demonstration, but lay out your argument paper simple terms it becomes obvious that Thomas Sowell's logic cannot be refuted...
Say something about yourself!
For a long time I've wondered why Mississippi's average income is the lowest in the country, way lower than the New England and West Coast states. Mississippi isn't alone. The other Southern states are only slightly better. Well, this book goes a long way to explaining why. The answer is Southern culture.
This is a black libertarian's explanation of black underachievement and a strong argument for high academic standards and expectations. Hard work doesn't hurt either.
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