Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Review: Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 by Charles Murray


Does it seem like the rich and the poor are moving farther apart?

The argument in this book makes a lot of sense. From 1960 to 2010 things have changed a lot. Those in the rich ruling class have no idea what a middle or lower class person lives like. The chasm between the two cultures becomes larger every year.

Murray follows two semi-fictional towns for 40 years and shows how each have changed. The rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer. The upper class has changed very little, but the lower class has changed a lot. We see much of it in the news; robbery, murder, school dropouts, etc.

Most of the book is spent proving the split exists. In the last few chapters, Murray gives his personal interpretation.

What I personally gleamed from this book was the ruling class, who make the laws for the rest of us, have no idea how most people live. They consider themselves higher than the rest of the country. The rich left speak down to those normal Americans who shop at Walmart and eat at Chilli's. 

On the other side the middle and lower class give up on life and spend more time on entertainment than making a difference in the world.

I see in this book as a rebuke to both sides. One side to see what the normal person goes through and the other side to reach outside of their comfort zone and connect with others.

The only negative I see in this book is it needed more interpretation of the facts. We know there is a gap - what does it mean and how do we remedy it?
I recommend this book.

* This book was freely provided by WaterBrook Multnomah for the purpose of an honest review.