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

Overview

The Bell Curve by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray has generated a firestorm of debate, confirming for some their secret belief in the innate inferiority of certain ”races” or ethnic groups, angering many who view the book as an ill-concealed racist manifesto, and worrying untold others who fear the further racial polarization of American society. In The Bell Curve Wars, a group of our country’s most distinguished intellectuals dismantles the alleged scientific foundations and criticizes the alarming ...

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Overview

The Bell Curve by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray has generated a firestorm of debate, confirming for some their secret belief in the innate inferiority of certain ”races” or ethnic groups, angering many who view the book as an ill-concealed racist manifesto, and worrying untold others who fear the further racial polarization of American society. In The Bell Curve Wars, a group of our country’s most distinguished intellectuals dismantles the alleged scientific foundations and criticizes the alarming public policy conclusions of this incendiary book.Anyone who has wondered about the connection among genes, race, and intelligence, all those anxious about racial antagonisms in our nation, those who question the efficacy of social welfare programs, all those troubled but unconvinced by Herrnstein and Murray’s book, will want to read The Bell Curve Wars.

A group of our country's most distinguished intellectuals dismantles the alleged scientific foundations and criticizes the alarming public policy conclusions of the incendiary book, The Bell Curve. All those concerned will want to buy The Bell Curve Wars for a brief, cogent, critical treatment of its main arguments.

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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 Alan Wolfe even doubts that an ``economic class structure has been replaced by a cognitive'' one.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: 5/28/1995
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 213
  • Sales rank: 633,696
  • Lexile: 1470L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Curveball 11
2 Cracking Open the IQ Box 23
3 Race, IQ, and Scientism 36
4 The Sources of The Bell Curve 58
5 Paradise Miscalculated 62
6 Ethnicity and IQ 70
7 Back to the Future with The Bell Curve: Jim Crow, Slavery, and G 80
8 Why Now? 94
9 Caste, Crime, and Precocity 97
10 Has There Been a Cognitive Revolution in America? The Flawed Sociology of The Bell Curve 109
11 Hearts of Darkness 124
12 The "It-Matters-Little" Gambit 130
13 Scientific Truth and the American Dilemma 139
14 Equality: An Endangered Faith 148
15 The Lowerers 156
16 Developing the Rage to Win 164
17 Brave New Right 172
18 The Phony War 179
19 For Whom the Bell Curves 187
List of Contributors 215
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2006

    That Jim guy is an idiot.

    This articulate, interesting, and convincing book completely rips apart the conservative, contemporary social Dawinistic, trash that is The Bell Curve. Clearly, Jim did not read all of the book, or the words were too big, because the works successfully refute the theory that intelligence, class, and race have a relationship.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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