Customer Reviews for

Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

highly recommended

i'm not sure why an author has to be "self-aware" as opposed to "self-absorbed" to write on a topic (i can find several examples of excellent books by authors who are most likely self-absorbed). in addition, how a reviewer boasts a solid conclusion to that effect is be...
i'm not sure why an author has to be "self-aware" as opposed to "self-absorbed" to write on a topic (i can find several examples of excellent books by authors who are most likely self-absorbed). in addition, how a reviewer boasts a solid conclusion to that effect is beyond self-righteousness. most likely an effect of being in an elite bubble that Murray wonderfully describes in the book. otherwise, how does a person say something subjective - unless he is a professional psychologist - as calling someone self-absorbed in an assured way as to seem objective? because he assumes he is right about everything, thus making him an elite. perhaps not in status, but in his own mind.

the "Tom Wolfe" reviewer also uses the word "obviously", without backing his assertions up with any amount of proof or argument whatsoever. i found this to be another example of the absolutely obvious nature of the reviewer's self-righteousness.

the statistics and conclusions in this book are incredibly rational with subjective nuances about human nature in tact. i will leave the potential reader with one example that does not necessarily require statistics or more proof than we've all seen with our own eyes: Murray comes to the conclusion that children brought up (gasp!) in two-parent homes do better in life.

Murray also brings up several points regarding the pursuit of happiness as it was originally intented in what he calls "the American Project". in so doing, he uses basic definitions of happiness as opposed to "unhinged hedonism" some may associate with happiness in modern times.

the book brings up excellent points about how culture is affecting destructive or what he calls "unseemly" behavior that results from a society with less codes of honor or morals. one such example he provides is an "unseemly" severence package for a failed CEO. Murray points out that these packages are NOT illegal but are morally reprehensible. in other words, Murray concludes that a society that loses it's moral bearings erodes itself from the inside.

even if one disagrees with Murray's conclusion(s), it will provide the reader with a facinating read for those interested in the social sciences, or even human nature in general. [one can preview Murray's presentation and summary of the book on booktv's website - i believe only the elite would find Charles Murray "self-absorbed" because they can never admit they are wrong or argue on topic]

posted by FrontPorchReview on February 20, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

stats right conclusions wrong; as usual

Tom Wolfe should be ashamed to have his name associated with this book. Mr. Wolfe was self aware enough to know that the subjects he chose to write about were nothing but a small piece of the puzzle. Not so Mr Murrey. In true self absorbed rather than self aware fash...
Tom Wolfe should be ashamed to have his name associated with this book. Mr. Wolfe was self aware enough to know that the subjects he chose to write about were nothing but a small piece of the puzzle. Not so Mr Murrey. In true self absorbed rather than self aware fashion, much like David Brooks, he takes very good statistics and comes to all the wrong conclusions. I had such high hopes.

Read it for the statistics. Read it for the unintentional exposure of how people like Mr. Murrey think. But, despite the subtitle, do not take it seriously as a true sociology report. It is not. His premise that the 'new rich' have isolated themselves to the point they do not understand what goes on outside their "bubble" is true. Obviously he has.

posted by 2145 on February 4, 2012

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  • Posted February 20, 2012

    highly recommended

    i'm not sure why an author has to be "self-aware" as opposed to "self-absorbed" to write on a topic (i can find several examples of excellent books by authors who are most likely self-absorbed). in addition, how a reviewer boasts a solid conclusion to that effect is beyond self-righteousness. most likely an effect of being in an elite bubble that Murray wonderfully describes in the book. otherwise, how does a person say something subjective - unless he is a professional psychologist - as calling someone self-absorbed in an assured way as to seem objective? because he assumes he is right about everything, thus making him an elite. perhaps not in status, but in his own mind.

    the "Tom Wolfe" reviewer also uses the word "obviously", without backing his assertions up with any amount of proof or argument whatsoever. i found this to be another example of the absolutely obvious nature of the reviewer's self-righteousness.

    the statistics and conclusions in this book are incredibly rational with subjective nuances about human nature in tact. i will leave the potential reader with one example that does not necessarily require statistics or more proof than we've all seen with our own eyes: Murray comes to the conclusion that children brought up (gasp!) in two-parent homes do better in life.

    Murray also brings up several points regarding the pursuit of happiness as it was originally intented in what he calls "the American Project". in so doing, he uses basic definitions of happiness as opposed to "unhinged hedonism" some may associate with happiness in modern times.

    the book brings up excellent points about how culture is affecting destructive or what he calls "unseemly" behavior that results from a society with less codes of honor or morals. one such example he provides is an "unseemly" severence package for a failed CEO. Murray points out that these packages are NOT illegal but are morally reprehensible. in other words, Murray concludes that a society that loses it's moral bearings erodes itself from the inside.

    even if one disagrees with Murray's conclusion(s), it will provide the reader with a facinating read for those interested in the social sciences, or even human nature in general. [one can preview Murray's presentation and summary of the book on booktv's website - i believe only the elite would find Charles Murray "self-absorbed" because they can never admit they are wrong or argue on topic]

    14 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 4, 2012

    stats right conclusions wrong; as usual

    Tom Wolfe should be ashamed to have his name associated with this book. Mr. Wolfe was self aware enough to know that the subjects he chose to write about were nothing but a small piece of the puzzle. Not so Mr Murrey. In true self absorbed rather than self aware fashion, much like David Brooks, he takes very good statistics and comes to all the wrong conclusions. I had such high hopes.

    Read it for the statistics. Read it for the unintentional exposure of how people like Mr. Murrey think. But, despite the subtitle, do not take it seriously as a true sociology report. It is not. His premise that the 'new rich' have isolated themselves to the point they do not understand what goes on outside their "bubble" is true. Obviously he has.

    9 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 1, 2012

    Reads like a textbook

    I read this book on the recommendation of my father-in-law so we could discuss it. While I did find it interesting, it read like a high school or college sociology textbook. I do not recommend it for Nook as the line graphs are hard to read and he refers to them often and it is hard to find them again.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Eye-opening

    Startling statistics. So startling that even if half of what he says is true, it's hard to discount his basic premise. If you've ever felt like the classes were much further apart in America than they've ever been, this book provides some possible explanations. Recommended.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    Excellent

    Excellent analysis of societal shift. Reads like a text book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Highly recommend

    This is an enlightening and compelling book. It was much more so because Mr. Murray limited his data to only the white population, which took away the racial bias he had been accused of in some of his earlier work. I would have been interested though in hearing Mr. Murray expand on his views regarding the specific underlying political and social policy events that help to explain the changes that began to occur during the 70s and 80s. Were Medicaid and other social programs contributors, such as the expansion of the definition of disability under the social security program? Also what impact might illegal drug use have had, or was the increase in illegal drug use a consequence of the social/economic disparity that was beginning to occur during those decades?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2012

    Charles Murray describes the collapse of the white American wor

    Charles Murray describes the collapse of the white American working class since the early 1960's and the rise of a segregated and self absorbed upper middle class. He presents two hypothetical towns that he names Belmont and Fishtown. Murray uses many impressive graphs to describe the divergence of values between rich and poor of the two hypothetical towns.

    Murray asserts that the lower classes in particular, have grown less virtuous, industrious, responsible, religious or community spirited. The upper classes, according to Murray, do much better according to his standards. The author criticizes the upper class for its lack of interaction or involvement with the lower classes. He uses some thought provoking examples to support his position. For example, the rise of children out of wedlock among never married working class parents has depressing implications for society.

    Despite his quantitative format, the author sweeps aside intervening variables that are not consistent with his view of the world. Other inconvenient variables are mentioned, but otherwise ignored. Murray regards America as a less virtuous place than in 1963, when we had Jim Crow oppression of minority people in large parts of the country. But by focusing only on white people, he can easily avoid this issue.

    Murray’s solution is to return to the days when everyone fended for themselves, which seems ironic. The author reveals social trends that might surprise anyone who has not been in a VFW hall, but look carefully for the intervening variables that he ignores or discounts in order to meet his world view.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2012

    Interesting and Counterintuitive

    This is not light reading, but author Charles Murray does make sociology and statistics understandable to the lay reader. His picture of the trajectories of the white upper and lower classes since about 1960 is in some respects just the opposite of media stereotypes. He is concerned and I think rightly so about the growing rigidity of socio-economic class distinctions in the US even as most Americans continue to deny that such classes exist at all. What to do about it is another matter. Murray admires how most of the upper class live their lives and wishes they would preach what they practice. That might help or not, but it doesn't seem like a one stop solution to the various problems he outlines.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

    A reasonable presentation of the social changes occurring in America today.

    Murray relates his perspective of the social changes over the designated time frame, the resulting grouping of like minded population clusters, and the likely results therefrom.
    It may be that such "clustering" is to be expected and perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised by such. Someone else said it, but I suggest it applies in this case..."birds of a feather flock together".

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2012

    Interesting, but Long

    My thoughts- This book was interesting, but I think that 300 pages for the main text was too long. It could have been shorter and gotten to the point faster.

    I have never thought that the census was that important and asked a lot of personal questions that it didn’t need to. This book showed me how important the census is and what kind of information can be gotten from it. Without this information there would be no book.

    I thought the last chapter was the best, because it was no longer about numbers and it talked about Charles Murray’s opinion and where the United States will be in the future. We can already see in Europe what happens when heritage is forgotten. As a country we need to get back to our founding fathers’ virtues, so that we can have a strong future without such a strong separation between classes.

    I recommend this book to those who want to learn how America is coming apart culturally.

    Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 by Charles Murray for free from the WaterBrook Multnomah “Blogging For Books” program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    Thumbs up!!!! Surprising dept

    Facing your truth of hows and why doesn't nessesaialy make the problem disappear but it isa Damn good start at any ag

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012

    Jon

    Bye

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012

    Nate

    Gtg ttyl bye

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Lost

    Lost 8.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    Not-Jared

    Well?

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    To not jared

    Hey he sun kk?

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    Zel

    So.. I'm joining?

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Reading rebal

    Is kloe,rose,or adicated reader here?

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Cpat.cody

    No come on*stuffs her in the back of the cop car the jail is page 9 book 1

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Victor

    Whos there

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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