• Ethnic America

  • By: Thomas Sowell
  • Narrated by: James Bundy
  • Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (408 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Thomas Sowell provides us with a useful and concise record tracing the history of nine ethnic groups: Irish, Germans, Jews, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans.

He offers perspective-building facts, such as the fact that there are more people of Irish ancestry in the United States than in Ireland and more Jews than in Israel. He explains each ethnic group's varied experiences in adapting to American society.

©1981 Basic Books, Inc. (P)1989 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"[This] should be required reading for anyone interested in policy questions involving race and ethnicity." (New Republic)
"Ethnic America is at once useful as a concise history of major ethnic groups and significant as a quiet but powerful attack on liberal beliefs about minorities, racism, segregation, and affirmative action." (The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about Ethnic America

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Understanding the ethnic tapestry of America

This is a fantastic book for understanding the histories of ethnic groups in America, and understanding how those histories tie into the history of America as a whole. This book isn’t political or decisive, but simply a record of complex histories of complex people.

I highly recommend this book (or any Thomas Sowell book) to anyone who wants to expand their understanding of America, and the world.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

I love everything Dr Sowell pens!!

Dr Sowell weaves a tale of America we all know exists but, in this work, Sowell lays out the storyboard of ethnic America with facts and details of this nation's history making it come alive in an extraordinary way. This text, to me, is a socioeconomic study of America much like a chef examines a recipe for a new dish with careful dissection of each ingredient pondering it's flavorful impact. Is America a melting pot after all?

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Excellent in-depth analysis

Sowell presents a masterful and in-depth analysis that is unrivaled. It is an exhausting and yet refreshing approach to identifying the distinctions among ethnic groups. This is necessary for anyone truly interested in helping our world blaze a path forward, a path paved with proven solutions to ethnic tension. All other analyses seem shallow in comparison, and run the risk of offering "solutions" that actually move is further from our common goal rather than closer.

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Somewhat dated with base 1970 Census

Interesting but as this was written 1989 is would have been better if base reference was the 1980 census as opposed to 1970 census. This skews the info for the sections which are The "Group" Today.

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Super interesting and informative book!

Thomas Sowell is my favorite author. His writings clearly convey his points, using data.
In this book, I am fascinated with how very different Ethnic groups in America were both similar and different. How choices certain Ethnic groups made (one example: to stay in America or eventually go back to their country) made a difference on how well the Ethnic group did financially, etc.
Another interesting thing is comparing how IQs have changed dramatically from when an Ethnic group arrived in America to the next generation(s). For example, a certain Jewish group came from a certain area with lower IQs. Within a generation, their IQs increased and exceeded others.
The audio reader was very good.
Highly recommended!

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Sowell, always amazing

as to be expected from his studies of statistics and humanity and diversity in America

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Perspective

Well rounded details on ethnic groups that have become American. Was everything I was hoping it to be.

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Thomas Sowell is a national treasure

Although this book could be revised with updated data, it is still an excellent reference for understanding the interesting histories and realities of Americans.

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History worth knowing

Bless him, Sowell does in-depth research and asks questions that few people seem to think of. Though it seems like these questions should be obvious: 'Are all Black people [or Chinese, or Italians] the same?' or 'Are people today functionally interchangeable with people 50 years ago or 100 years ago?' If not, what are the implications? How do subgroups differ from each other? How do individuals within the subgroups differ with other members of the same group? Is there change over time? In what ways? To what effect?

Although his 'current' data is dated [nothing past the 1970s], the book is still worth having for the detailed historical examination of various ethnic groups in American history (white, non-white; voluntary, involuntary; Asian, European, African, Jewish [and subgroups within each category]). Knowing this information helps me appreciate our common humanity all the more.

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Fascinating insight into the fabric we call America

My only wish is that there was a Sowell "Book 2" with current information. Yet, the book did not disappoint . It gave me great insight into why some cultures are the way they are still today - with slight differences. I enjoyed learning about my own ethnic heritage (from multiple counties). Another takeaway was that no ethnicity has the right to hold themselves up as "most oppressed" - all these groups discussed had their struggles, obstacles, heartaches, trials and injustices.
All the more reason for us to be kind, accepting, and unified as Americans today and always .