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A Personal Odyssey

A Personal Odyssey

4.3 3
by Thomas Sowell, Jeff Riggenbach (Narrated by)

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This is the gritty story of one man's lifelong education in the school of hard knocks, as his journey took him from Harlem to the Marines, the Ivy League, and a career as a controversial writer, teacher, and economist in government and private industry. It is also the story of the dramatically changing times in which this personal odyssey took place.



This is the gritty story of one man's lifelong education in the school of hard knocks, as his journey took him from Harlem to the Marines, the Ivy League, and a career as a controversial writer, teacher, and economist in government and private industry. It is also the story of the dramatically changing times in which this personal odyssey took place.

The vignettes of the people and places that made an impression on Thomas Sowell at various stages of his life range from the poor and the powerless to the mighty and the wealthy, from a home for homeless boys to the White House, as well as ranging across the United States and around the world. It also includes Sowell's startling discovery of his own origins during his teenage years.

If the child is father to the man, this memoir shows the characteristics that have become familiar in the public figure known as Thomas Sowell already present in an obscure little boy born in poverty in the Jim Crow South during the Great Depression and growing up in Harlem. His marching to his own drummer, his disregard of what others say or think, even his battles with editors who attempt to change what he has written, are all there in childhood.

More than a story of the life of Sowell himself, this is also a story of the people who gave him their help, their support, and their loyalty, as well as those who demonized him and knifed him in the back. It is a story not just of one life, but of life in general, with all its exhilaration and pain.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A nationally recognized economist and scholar, Sowell recounts his long, steady climb from a hardscrabble North Carolina childhood to the top ranks of influential conservatives within the Republican Party in Washington. Sowell, who is African-American, racked up a series of notable accomplishments through sheer determination and a refusal to let his race prove an obstacle to a productive life. His grit and focus became evident during his early years as a rebellious schoolboy in Harlem, an unremarkable stint in the Marines, his later studies at Howard University and his frustrating time at Harvard. Of particular note is his unwavering approval of leading economist Milton Friedman, who taught Sowell at the University of Chicago. Known for his attention to detail and the nuance of his theoretical writings, Sowell doesn't consistently display those skills to advantage: he often seems to race through key periods in his life, leaving the reader to wonder what elements of significance have been left out. However, he pulls no punches in his conservative stance on the thorny issue of race, which has frequently put him in opposition with the African-American community, and demonstrates his steadfast belief in meritocracy. He earns points for his revelations about his personal disappointments, his painful divorce and his frustrations with an unkind media, dispelling a common belief that he was a close adviser of President Reagan. Offering only a controlled, muted look at the author's inner world, Sowell's account occasionally seems arrogant, but often reflective and always provocative. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Imagine a life in which you succeed at every task you undertake, you vanquish every opponent in a verbal dual, and you show off your mental prowess outrageously and get away with it. This is the essence of Sowell's life story, as he tells it. Even his divorce is depicted as if he had no part in it. Modesty is not one of his strengths. The author, a well-known conservative educator and economist, heaps criticism on just about everyone whoever crossed him or attempted to thwart his ambitious rise from a difficult home life and semipoverty to national prominence. Like Reagan and Teflon, nothing sticks to Sowell, at least in his version. Either way, he must get credit for what appears to be total recall. Fact or fiction, listeners may judge for themselves. Jeff Riggenbach provides his usual proficient narration. Recommended. Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, NC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From African-American economist and author Sowell, a forthright memoir of growing up the hard way in Harlem-without a father, but with an admirable refusal to compromise one's principles.

From the Publisher
David Horowitz author of Radical Son Thomas Sowell is a national treasure. In our time, no one has written more wisely on the issues of culture and race.

Norman Podhoretz author of My Love Affair with America This account of Thomas Sowell's "odyssey" is an indispensable clue to the mystery of how he managed to become the extraordinary man he is and one of the few intellectuals of our time who deserves to be called heroic.

William Julius Wilson Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, Harvard University, and author of The Truly Disadvantaged Thomas Sowell's A Personal Odyssey is a tour de force. After reading this very engaging and well-written memoir, readers will clearly understand why Sowell, a man who does not sacrifice his principles, is one of the most provocative and influential public intellectuals in the last half century.

Product Details

Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 9.74(h) x 1.28(d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and the author of The Quest for Cosmic Justice, The Vision of the Anointed, Ethnic America, and several other books. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, Forbes, and Fortune, and are syndicated in 150 newspapers. He lives in Stanford, California.

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Personal Odyssey 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before I read 'Personal Odyssey', I had read many of Sowell's works, including 'Knowledge and Decisions'. However, reading his autobiography connected all of the dots. Not only was the book a fascinating read about the life of an intellectual, but additionally I gained a better understanding of why Sowell's mind works the way it does. The reader will note the many experiences in Sowell's life that led him to realize much of the way the world works, with all of its its backward notions, is due to the fallacies spewed by the left and others. So, I encourage any fan of Sowell to read his life, or, for that matter, any liberal who thinks that much of the minority state can be attributed to the 'injustice' of 'society' or 'whites'. Sowell is the perfect example of a person who thought for himself and actually checked the facts before buying into the victimhood hype.
Herbert Beck More than 1 year ago
This is a page turning look at a remarkable man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago