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Thomas Sowell's scholarly expertise does not fail to disappoint in this enlightening book. Far from rendering blanket opinions, Dr. Sowell provides the reader/listener with an exceedingly well-sourced (but not at all dry) account of the origins of so-called "African American culture".
But the best surprise is that this book goes far beyond what the title appears to imply. Sowell provides one of the must elucidating explanations of the seemingly maniacal worldwide hatred of Jews that I have ever heard. He explains the role of the "middleman minority" and how their rational economic behavior often translates into class and ethnic stereotyping and hatred.
This book is a hard one to put down, and despite its scholarly merits, does not lull the reader into unconsciousness. Indeed, Sowell's writing style (the first book of his I've ever read) is crisp, clear, engaging, and always thought provoking. A solid narrative performance is also offered by Hugh Mann.
37 of 38 people found this review helpful
This book was much better than I expected, given the unusual title. He builds upon the thesis that regional differences in American culture derive from variations in immigration patterns from Britain (who, where, when) which is covered in Albion's Seed, another good book (by a different author). He then adds generations of enslaved blacks living among one of these cultures and indirectly picking up behaviour and speech patterns derived indirectly from a certain time and place in Britain. He contrasts the results where blacks were not exposed to this culture, by not being enslaved or being enslaved elsewhere.
His history of Dunbar High School in DC was inspiring or threatening, depending on whether you believe blacks were as capable of competence as other immigrants or believe they need to be treated patronizingly forever, respectively. Dr. Sowell states that lack of enrollment restrictions and the parent's occupations did not make the students the cream of the crop, as the parent's occupations were maid, porter, etc., and that one third of DC blacks were going to Dunbar HS. Hence the earier nagative review.
The real treat in the book is the massive expansion of his treatment of "middle men" minorities (e.g. Jews, Chinese, Aremenians, etc), and why they are sometimes hated and periodically slaughtered.
Despite the title, this book has world wide scope.
This was a great book.
19 of 21 people found this review helpful
Interesting ideas, well researched, and clearly understood, black rednecks and white liberals offers some good arguments against the perceived wisdom that seems to drive certain political ideologies.
A couple of things to be aware of:
- Sowell tends to write in essay format which is fine but it does mean that sometimes the overall book lacks structure. Additionally, chapters often rehash the same ground as early ones, often even reusing examples.
- the narrator is good and clear but talks rather slowly. You might want to consider listening on double speed.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Superb and entertaining book. The reading voice is somehow monotonous but you forget about it when the subject is so interesting. It is great to see somebody against the politically correct tide.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
The discussion/argument was exceptionally well raised using a plethora of different examples from around the globe to make an exceptional argument against the current victim narrative that seems to be pervasive in current society.
Fantastic insights from a fantastic intellect. I can't wait to enjoy more Thomas Sowell soon.