An imaginary version of America

Jessica Lietz

3 Stars

May 8, 2012

Coming Apart by Charles Murray explores the formation of American economic classes and how the values in each socioeconomic class have changed so much that the different groups barely seem as if they're from the same culture. Although Murray focuses on whites, he goes on to argue that the same is true for blacks, Hispanics and other ethnicities.

This book spends 95% of the time writing about problems and about 5% of the time writing about possible solutions to those problems. It is a conservative / libertarian viewpoint, with the author explicitly stating that one of the four fundamental things to living a happy life is a "satisfying marriage". I know plenty of people who are living happy lives without being married. But I digress.

The failure of this book is the construction of pretend communities with only white people. That's not what America is, so how can he write about what America's real problems are and devise solutions by making up what is essentially fiction?

I will admit to enjoying the part about the Overeducated Elitist Snob problem! Having attended Northwestern University, I had the (opportunity? unfortunate experience??) of meeting many people in the process of becoming this person. I also appreciated Murray's insight that certain government programs take away the responsibility for parents to provide for their children.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion here is my own.