Bell Curve Wars: Race, Intelligence, and the Future of America

Bell Curve Wars: Race, Intelligence, and the Future of America

by Steven Fraser
     
 

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The distinguished contributors dismantle the alleged scientific foundations and criticize the alarming public policy conclusions of the book that has inflamed public debate.See more details below

Overview

The distinguished contributors dismantle the alleged scientific foundations and criticize the alarming public policy conclusions of the book that has inflamed public debate.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of articles by 19 journalists and academics represents a mostly effective counterattack against Richard Herrnstein's and Charles Murray's controversial bestseller, The Bell Curve. Stephen Jay Gould leads off by refuting the earlier book's central argument: that racial differences in IQ are due mostly to genes. Howard Gardner adds that East Asian examples show that culture, not genetics, is key. Alan Wolfe even doubts that an ``economic class structure has been replaced by a cognitive'' one. Some contributors offer useful context: Henry Louis Gates Jr. notes that The Bell Curve appeared in a time of diminished liberalism, Randall Kennedy observes that its prominence stems from problems in our market-driven intellectual culture and Jacqueline Jones tartly scores its authors' ``wide-eyed, romantic view of the past.'' Several authors-including Mickey Kaus, Martin Peretz and Leon Wieseltier-reprise pieces from a New Republic issue devoted to The Bell Curve. This collection, unfortunately, has the flaws of a rush job: the contributors, notably the conservative Thomas Sowell, do not respond to each other. (Sowell criticizes the genetics argument but believes that Herrnstein and Murray demolished double standards regarding college admissions and ``race norming'' on employment tests.) Moreover, this book could have used a solid postmortem on the press coverage and hype surrounding The Bell Curve's publication. (May)
Library Journal
Fraser, the vice president and executive editor of Basic Books, has gathered individual pieces from some 20 contributors, well-known professionals ranging, alphabetically, from Howard Gardner to Alan Wolfe. In his introduction, Fraser avers that "taken together [these essays] comprise a powerful antidote to a work [Richard Hernstein and Charles Murray's The Bell Curve, Free Pr., 1994] of dubious premises and socially alarming preductions." Joint essayists Jeffrey Rosen and Charles Lane's representative position is that "The Bell Curve deserves critical attention, not public smearing and uncritical private acceptance." The critical attention as expressed throughout this collection is stimulating, reasoned, lively, and challenging. An excellent and thoughtful compendium; highly recommended for an academic and general audience. [An interview with Steven Fraser appears on p. 103.-Ed.]-Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology Lib., Alfred,

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465006939
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/28/1995
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
213
Product dimensions:
5.06(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.48(d)
Lexile:
1470L (what's this?)

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