Black Rednecks and White Liberals

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This explosive new book challenges many of the long-prevailing assumptions about blacks, about Jews, about Germans, about slavery, and about education. Plainly written, powerfully reasoned, and backed with a startling array of documented facts, Black Rednecks and White Liberals takes on not only the trendy intellectuals of our times but also such historic interpreters of American life as Alexis de Tocqueville and Frederick Law Olmsted. In a series of long essays, this book presents an in-depth look at key beliefs behind many mistaken and dangerous actions, policies, and trends. It presents eye-opening insights into the historical development of the ghetto culture that is today wrongly seen as a unique black identity–a culture cheered on toward self-destruction by white liberals who consider themselves “friends” of blacks. An essay titled “The Real History of Slavery” presents a jolting re-examination of that tragic institution and the narrow and distorted way it is too often seen today. The reasons for the venomous hatred of Jews, and of other groups like them in countries around the world, are explored in an essay that asks, “Are Jews Generic?” Misconceptions of German history in general, and of the Nazi era in particular, are also re-examined. So too are the inspiring achievements and painful tragedies of black education in the United States. “Black Rednecks and White Liberals” is the capstone of decades of outstanding research and writing on racial and cultural issues by Thomas Sowell.

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  1. Alex Garcia

    In the book Black Rednecks and White Liberals, on the Redneck Culture essay, Thomas Sowell shows us that the redneck culture has been counterproductive for both whites and blacks who lived in the south. I believe that this work was deeply researched, and I have been convinced, with his evidence, that not all cultures should be equally valued, as some cultures can be devastating to the groups who live by them. The redneck culture originates from the Northern borderlands of Brittan, the Scottish highlands, and Ulster’s County, Ireland. These places were known for their lawlessness, and it is no surprise that they developed what we consider destructive cultures in an environment that forced you to look for instant gratification. In the first place, Thomas Sowell goes into depth on the rednecks “aversion to work, proneness to violence, neglect of education, sexual promiscuity, improvidence, drunkenness, lack of entrepreneurship, reckless searches for excitement, lively music and dance, and a style of religious oratory marked by strident rhetoric, unbridled emotions, and flamboyant imagery”. He provides vivid examples of how the south’s lack of success, whether academically, financially, or socially, can be blamed not on race or slavery but rather on a common subculture that affected both whites and blacks. Sowell exposes us to the fact that “as late as the First World War, white soldiers from Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi scored lower on mental tests than black soldiers from Ohio, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. These differences in mental ability cannot be attributed to genetic factors or racial discrimination because they do not explain how blacks from the north scored better than whites from the south, further proving that some cultures can be counterproductive. Despite Thomas Sowell’s excellent work, I had to make sure that his sources were credible and that there weren’t any hidden assumptions or common fallacies. Thomas Sowell sites work from highly accomplished historians, sociologists, and social workers on the top of their field. For example, he cites work from Forest McDonald, an exceptional American Historian, who even got the highest federal government award in humanities. With sources like these, it would be strenuous too, even at the least, not consider the expressed arguments. I do believe Thomas Sowell gives an oversimplified explanation of the way that the groups of redneck migrants affected culture. He provides specific information on the differences in culture as well as the way the rednecks reacted differently towards social issues, but he doesn’t show us how all of this had a profound impact on the south, other than the quotations of the northern disapproval towards the south and the economy not to mention societal problems they had. I would have enjoyed this chapter more if it had a detailed illustration of how exactly the redneck culture impacted the south, not just an explanation of the ways that they differed. He showed us the problems without an explanation of how they came to be, always attributing the problems to the redneck culture. I’m not saying that he can’t be right, but all I am saying is that I would’ve liked more detail. Consequently, Thomas Sowell has shown me how culture can have a dramatic impact on groups of people. He even led me to reevaluate my life as well as my cultural customs and see which habits have been unfavorable to my family and which ones have been beneficial. His credible sources and relevant information on the redneck culture have led me to agree with his premise. I disagree with the fact that the redneck community had all to do with the lack of the souths prosperity, nonetheless, I do agree that it had a negative impact, as the statistics Sowell provided us with gave remarkable insights into the negative results the redneck culture had on both whites and blacks in the south. The ultimate purpose of his work on the redneck culture was to provide us with a historical foundation to understand the problems in the black community today–especially, if not only, to understand the problems in the ghettos. I would certainly recommend this work because it has historical teachings that go beyond the historical period being discussed; these teachings can be applied to our lives now and can help to illuminate, not to mention, expand our understanding of the problems America is facing today. In brief, Thomas Sowell’s work on the redneck culture has been a product of extensive research. Highly qualified sources, properly structured essays, and his elucidating life teachings were a delight to read. Connecting my previous knowledge on the formation of cultures, and now reading this book, I can conclude that culture is the collective accumulation of actions that led our ancestors to success in their specific environments, and that is specifically the reason why it can be counterproductive when groups of people migrate to locations with customs and habits that are no longer effective, if not, counterproductive in their new location.

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  2. Breanna

    Thomas Sowell is a genius. It’s really a shame and a disservice to the people in this country that the mainstream media isn’t interested in his works more. This book was eye opening and informative. A true blessing in these times.

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  3. Shawn Tardiff

    Every page was worth reading, and almost impossible to put down.

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  4. Phillip Brunnengraeber

    I have read three Sowell titles now and loved all of them, though there is some tendency to repeat the same theme. For instance in Conquest and Cultures he discussed slavery in his chapter about Africa, and again had a chapter devoted to slavery in this book. However, the chapter in BR&WL was much more thorough. I was especially interested in the chapter on Black Education because I myself am a high school teacher. It confirmed what many people have suggested, that in order to have success teaching children in poverty or “at risk” or whatever we are supposed to call them according to the politically correct police, one must have high expectations and require hard work. This makes perfect sense. If children in inner city schools are in fact behind those in suburban areas, how can they close the gap unless they work hard? Some might argue that it is not their fault and so it is not fair to make them work harder than children who’s parents pay for tutoring etc. but the fact remains that they are behind and are not likely to catch up by any amount of praising or complaining.Besides this chapter I felt that the chapter about “middleman minorities” was very interesting. Sowell made the case that there are many “Jews” in the sense that there are other examples of minorities who filled the role that Jews did in Europe and even the United States. He cited Chinese in Southeast Asia and Indonesia, Lebanese in northern Africa and Armenians in Turkey. All of these, he claimed and supported, are minority peoples who were often on the margins of the parent society, but that achieved success in spite of disadvantages they faced. It was a strong argument.The main chapter and theme of course is that the “black” culture that we find in the United States today, and which is often celebrated by not only some blacks but often liberal elites, is not the result of culture brought from Africa, but rather culture brought from areas of England by white settlers. He argues that it is the “redneck” culture that has found its way into “black” culture originating from the south by osmosis. Sowell cites many examples of people from the North traveling South in the anti-bellum period, who noted the “redneck” culture and its characteristics. He quotes such scholars or W.E.B. Dubois who held negative views of the Southern blacks. This is a very interesting argument which, in my mind, is not so much an indictment of African Americans today, than it is of the South in general.I would recommend this book for its original point of view and sound scholarship. That is, Sowell does not simply make up arguments or claim special insight, but supports everything he writes with a mountain of citations and quotes. It is well written and offers much to ponder.

    The Sureshot

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  5. H. Agustsson

    This book is no exception to Sowell’s other works. Very well worth reading.

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  6. Dana Walker

    To be sure the title alone should suck you in. I was continuously asked to give an over of book from others who read the title, even a 11 year old girl sitting next to me on the plane wanted to know what it was about.This book is critical indictment of the general trend of “feelings” guiding our future vs. “facts.” It is a praiseworthy illustration of how a rational analysis of history is the best way forward for human progress. Sowell challenges many prevailing interpretations of history and current implications with empirical data that leaves the reader with no other choice but to have a greater appreciation for how historical evidence as a tool to redefine our present and shape our future.

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  7. Scott Burgan

    This is the second book of Sowell’s that I have read after Basic Economics. The man really deserves a much wider audience as his writing is like a diamond of honesty and clear accessible prose among the sloppy and emotional thinking that pervades around this topic.I speak namely of the idea that all differences in racial outcomes are due to discrimination from the majority group to a minority group or that some minority groups do poorly because of mental scarring caused by past injustices. It doesn’t matter where you sit on the political spectrum, this book deserves to be read and its ideas thought about.Don’t let the title fool you, this book is about more than just blacks in America but also includes discussions of Germans abroad and whether the nature of the German character led to WW2, discussions of Jewish, Chinese and Lebanese minority groups abroad who become more successful than the majority population and also slavery as a world wide phenomenon and western imperialism.If you have read any of Sowell’s other works then you are sure to enjoy this one.

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  8. Anonymous

    #1 – Cracker Culture. I had no idea that Celt = Cracker. This was a refreshing history lesson. Did you know President Carter referred to himself as a “proud cracker”? At the heart of Sowell’s thesis is a book called “Cracker Culture”, by Grady Mcwhiney. According to McWhiney, clan like Celtic herdsmen (mostly from Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall – aka northerners) make up more of the ancestry of US southerners vs the more affluent and friendly British Anglo-Saxons (lowlanders). As a Harlan Kentucky native this argument is strikingly similar to the one Malcolm Gladwell makes in Outliers about the Hatfield and McCoy family feud and the sheepherding cultural legacy of Appalachia that breeds aggressive, suspicious and defensive people today, if not simply “cultures of honor”. On one hand I want to disagree with the generalizations given how vast our melting pot really is. On the other, I think of the Massai of Kenya and other traditional “herders” and its easy to see how self imposed cultural segregation exists today…something Sowell is asking us to deeply consider.#2 – Black rednecks – This concept took me back to learning about the Harlem Renaissance and the racism that existed among affluent blacks in the North to the poorer and less educated refugees coming from the south during the Jim Crow/Wilson Era. Is it possible that white crackers passed along their cultural heritage of DGAF to the ghettos of Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago? Sowell says yes, and what I like about this is the cultural ramification here. Gangster rap isn’t mobility, its a disease, one transmitted from the diseased banjo playing poor self loathing whites of the south.#3 – History of slavery – Perhaps the strongest legacy of this book will be the greater texture it adds to the history of slavery. As a white US southerner, I often think of slavery as an American dilemma or a white/European one, but the truth is as always much more complex. I do find it easy to believe that some people#4 – White liberals – Where to begin. Again, as a southerner myself growing up in one of America’s poorest places many of my family supported democrats like Johnson and FDR for the things they had “brought” to the south. Things like welfare, water and electricity. Sowell is unrelenting on his disdain for the left already and this book doesn’t depart. The arrogance of whites in the context of blacks is becoming more and more obvious as time goes by and the policies of the Great Society and such are born out. The hardest pill to swallow is the deterioration of Dunbar High following Brown v Board of Education, a school down the street from where I live now in DC. Yes segregation is bad, but at the same time making something “inherently unequal” is even worse. It’s a whole new way to view affirmative action and young children.

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  9. GregoryKing

    Wonderful man. Wonderful writer. It is pleasure to learn from such a great mind and intellect. I have read other works by Mr. Sowell and have nothing but high praise for those works as well.

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  10. JP

    This man’s research is old-school, honest, and this book should be a mandatory reading requirement for basic high-school education. He is facts-based which, in today’s world, offends certain masses with the truth only sound science can produce. If you’ve grown tired of the same-old-social-justice-rhetoric being pushed so recklessly, ineffectively and destructively this book may have what you are looking for. To me it is cause for hope and optimism, and restores my faith in humanity, specifically with regard to race relations and the achievements we have, in fact, achieved in this great country in our history.

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  11. BKM-S

    I cannot begin to condense or distill Thomas Sowell’s wisdom, born of his life experiences. He just turned 90, having been born on June 30, 1930. I had never heard of him until about two years ago. Read it for yourself and be blessed.

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  12. Daniel A. Hall

    Sowell is not just a black intellectual with strong opinions, he is one who has data to buttress them with lived experience and real data. Fascinating reading. As a result of reading this book I am not reading Jason L Riley’s excellent Sowell biography “Maverick”. Both highly recommended to provide an alternate black experience and a better informed view of racial relations in the USA and the world.

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  13. Justin

    Didn’t know what to expect with this book. Loved the intellect of the author. Very well researched and some author made some great points. Love the way the book was broken up into a series of seperate topics within the overall topic of the book. Excellent. Will read all his books eventually despite the topic simply because the author is so intellectually stimulating.

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  14. M. Cox

    Every chapter of this book is paradigm-shifting. You will literally be finding yourself finding real-world examples of the behavior that he describes around you. The black redneck part of the title comes from the fact (and when you see the voluminous footnoted documentation, you will know that he backs ups his claims) that modern “urban” black culture comes directly from the white trash areas of the British Isles, and has such traits as an exaggerated need for respect and status, regardless of consequences, or a lack of respect for law, which you immediately notice when the Terrell Owens supension comes up or the latest rapper starts declaring what a thug he is.He also persuasively proves that people hate Jews because they are middleman minorities, who retail the products made by the self-righteous producers (see farmers and coal miners), or make money through financial transactions. What is revelatory is that there are many such middleman minorities throughout the world, who have suffered similiar treatment as the Jews, such as the Armenians.Another well thought-out hypothesis is that Western imperialism, Britain especially, is solely responsible for the extinction of the institution of slavery through the majority of the globe. Western civilation is the pioneer that first decided slavery was wrong, led by the religious right of its time.The last section proves that liberals care more about esoteric ideas of equality than actually educating black children.Buy this book, I command you!!!

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  15. Nicholas Ward

    It’s amazing that Dr. Sowell is not required reading. I can not express how accurately he describes the culture of underachieving by intercity family’s and the history of similar behavior by southern whites of the past. He’s analogy of modern-day gang violence and the now infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud exemplifies a culture that values violent over achievement and its historical foundation in failed social groups.

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  16. Michael Pitt

    An Essential book for anyone seeking to understand a lot of ethnic/cultural dynamics. His look at the connections between “Black Culture” and “Border Reiver” culture was fascinating. Everything from patterns of violence (from the crips and the bloods to cross burning and lynching) to ways of speaking (cockney English and Ebonics) is covered and he also provides references to other books that further shed light on this subject (Albion’s Seed). What a lot of people don’t grasp is that many things we see as being “Black” phenomena have a cultural precedent in the practices of the border/fringe peoples from the British Isles. Practices/cultural items such as bling take on a whole new significance when you understand the regions that practice came from. The borderers (people from the Anglo-Scottish Border, Ulster, the Welsh Marches, Cumberland and the outer Highlands) lived in places that were not stable or safe, so rather than invest in beautiful homes or large farmsteads, the kept their wealth on them in case they had to run. This lead to people wearing chains, necklaces, broaches, rings, earrings and so on as a means of keeping wealth portable and close at hand. This eventually evolved into the phenomena we call “Bling.” The same is true of the red vs blue dynamic we see with the Bloods and Crips. In ages past, when England and Scotland went to war, the English soldiers wore tunics of blood red with a golden lion (which eventually evolved into the redcoats of lore), and the Scottish soldiers wore tunics of midnight blue with a white unicorn. If you understand Reiver culture vs West African culture then it becomes clear that Urban Black culture shares far, far more in common with the whites of fringe regions of the British Isles as opposed to their own genetic forbears in Africa.

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  17. Michael A Branch

    A great read, if not difficult (because it can clash with long held beliefs) at times.The author does an excellent job of putting our current status in historical context. Well researched with plenty of examples.It offers a needed alternative to ponder instead of some ideas pushed currently. And it does so in a well considered, rationale way.Although I don’t agree with some conclusions drawn, or leaving out some of the more nuanced aspects of our current racial status in the US, I do respect the outlook. At times it was like he ignored the very real outcome of racist policies and practices, but overall pretty even handed.

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  18. Gabriel Canuteson

    Sowell makes a compelling argument that the urban Ghetto culture, often associated with black Americans can trace it’s origins back to the American South, and the English immigrants who migrated there. The books describes the different cultures that developed in North and South during early U.S history. He also touches on Germans, Jews, and other groups, using his customary culture biography. Sowell is better than anyone else I’ve read at explaining the values and beliefs that account for the outcomes and positions of groups within society.

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  19. Merrell T. Denison

    Sowell brings his consistently clear headed thinking and writing processes from his economics background, to the topic of race. Surprisingly the book left me less impressed with his “cracker culture” main thesis, but totally intrigued by the failures he chronicles of the educational system, and the total idiocy of “multiculturalism”, a topic he raises at least seven times within the book. His perspectives on the ubiquity of slavery and conquest throughout history were very informative and thought provoking. By the end of the book I wondered why American Indians were not enslaved by plantation owners, seemingly a more economical solution than transporting people from Africa, but a bit of research informed me they were! Whole tribes from both North and South America perished to slave traders. That wasn’t in the history books I read. Anyone interested in Multiculturalism can profit from this book. Quoting from it: “The central doctrine of multiculturalism – the equality of cultures – cannot be sustained when that means equality of concrete achievements – educationally, economically, or otherwise.””The very concept of achievement, which is antithetical to the multicultural vision- and which is therefore often evaded or denied.” After reading Sowell, read a speech by a former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm entitled “American Suicide” available on the Internet. It is short, and important. Back to the title, Sowell feels culture is destiny to a large extent. By coincidence, I ran across a book by Earl Shorris, who is 180 degrees from Sowell politically, but who arrived at the same conclusion. Sowell recommends educators insisting on “hard work” from students, Shorris achieved good results by teaching humanities to the under privileged. I wish them both well!

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  20. LU ANN JONES

    Thomas Sowell has done a masterful job of identifying many of the sleight of hand bad-history and flawed assumptions baked into CRT. Great Quotes: “Nothing is easier than creating higher standards for judging other people (p.279)”. “The unattainability of objectivity is too often a distraction from something more mundane that is quite attainable…honesty (p.277).” Sowell does a masterful job of calling out the intellectual dishonesty of the current generation of historians…and psychologists…for their completely agenda driven propaganda mascaraing as pseudo history. If you feed filthy after reading the sewage that is CRT, this book can help with the detox. A rare book in these days, a book of honesty spoken by an honest and intelligent man.

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  21. Dean W.

    I devoured this book and can honestly say… I learned more rich history in this one read than my entire 16 years of education in the U.S. Sowell has it right and it amazes me that more people don’t know who this man is or what he has contributed to the body of knowledge. We all know why- his opinion does not align with the narrative of the left, or the elitists who think only white people can save black people. Sowell subscribes to a “work hard” ethos and although he admits that circumstances and luck play a role, he still points out that everyone can be successful if they work hard- even if things “are not fair”. Sowell is about personal responsibility and rejects the notion that certain groups of people don’t succeed based on race. He provides mountains of evidence to support his claims and believes that allowing this attitude to become an alibi or excuse only hurts the group who believe they are somehow disadvantaged. This should be the required reading of our youth- not the ridiculous race theory nonsense that threatens to further separate us as human beings. This book explores the negative influence “red necks” had on the black South and how strangely, this later was attributed to be unique to “black or African culture”. To learn that these backward “red neck” cultures were actually brought to America by certain areas of Britain was eye opening but made perfect sense. Sowell delves into “middle man minorities” such as the Jews and why this group of people have been maligned for eons. In short, “haters gonna hate”. He also discusses the German people and their strange response to Hitler’s rise to power and his atrocities against the Jews. Why did they do little to stop this horrible man? Was is related to culture? Absolutely thought provoking …bravo Dr. Sowell….I would do anything to meet you!

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  22. George Burdick

    Educational and accurate

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  23. Erfan223

    Dr. Sowell’s work is magnificently written in a logical and fact-based format. His review of cultures of Germans, Jews, Chinese, and other minority groups across global history is enlightening.The past history of colonialism and warfare carried many attitudes by the colonists and those conquered which historical evidence of attitudes and feelings don’t remain any longer.The contemporary ideas put forth in the liberal pop culture of “racism = holding black people back” is invalid. Sowell goes on to explain why on his theory of education being looked down upon by black culture and “acting white” being mocked by those who dare to challenge the status quo as the culprit of low achievement.Rather than to blame the black communities educational and career setbacks on the truth (low emphasis on education) and white liberals supporting this, he dismantles the hypocrisy of modern academia and liberal establishments who perpetuate the one size fits all destructive beliefs keeping Blacks down today.For example, the Native Indians were amongst one another savages and conquerers. Thus, it’s illogical to fully understand or grasp how the Arowaks (the tribe that met Columbus) felt in attitude, nor the attitudes of Columbus. Dr. Sowell’s brilliant warning of ignoring history’s lessons explains why this action of ignorance can lead to civil war repeatedly.Was it not the Mongols? Was it not the Ottoman Turks? Was it not the eastern civilizations that too slaughtered, enslaved, and conquered? Why is it the Western Civilization, the first leader in modern relative history to produce due process, to have freedom of religion, and choice, bashed by contemporary scholars because of American slavery?Slavery according to history existed in chattel, indentured servitude, and brutal forms across the globe. It is illogical to point to the state of American souther blacks today as solely the result of it.For example, Sowell in the first half of the book gives many concrete, fact based, historical examples of WHY Southern American negroes experienced a lack of education: THAT BEING the imported savage culture from Europe’s Celtic Fringe. In layman’s terms, the north Britons and southern Scots were uncivilized, barbarous, and illiterate peoples whose culture was brought to southern USA. This adaption of loose moral standards, sexual promiscuity, violent pride, and unabashed slang was a white cultural trait of southern antebellum America, which transferred to the emancipated slaves.The evidence is apparent in the education and literacy of free blacks in the north during antebellum America and post-emancipation.Several letters by Thomas Jefferson and Lincoln also prove in their own concern of the moral dilemma of emancipation of slaves in sudden form leading to the inability of these slaves to have resources or capacity to survive for themselves; something schools and media ignore.It was thus not as simple as history books taught! The dilemma in freeing slaves immediately was that the servants of owners would essentially have no direct support system, literacy, and or jobs to survive in the south.The southern redneck culture in itself brought a lack of industry, educational achievement, or care for it.Sowell in detailed scope gives evidence to why after emanicpation the Puritan, Quaker, and New England funded schools for blacks in the south led to the establishment of high achievement for the early black scholars, lawyers and inventors simply due to the importance of education by white northern teachers who setup thousands of small schools across the post antebellum south. The idea of education in New England style led to the success of Dunbar High School, which produced thought leaders like Vernon Brown, General Benjamin Davis, Sr., Nannie Helen Burroughs, and Charles Hamilton Houston, and Ivy League African American scholarship.Sowell also elaborated in this book the problems of applying visionary ideas which aren’t rooted in reality. The politics and money routes liberal establishments use to give symbolism that they want to help black communities often ends up hurting them more. The rooted reality of urban black culture being descendant of white redneck culture is the truth. Where morals, a value on education and literacy aren’t favored, death and violence ensue.Whites won’t in contemporary mass media admit due to not wanting to appear racist. Whereas, blacks to some extent seem to accept current conditions as an effect of slavery but not of culture.Enjoyed the read. Dr. Sowell is a gem. May his scholarship be persevered. I don’t agree with all his viewpoints. However, this book was introspective and helped me remove some of the mental blocks I had holding me back from being responsible and not being victim due to my conditions I was handed.

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  24. Constantine

    An informative and reasoned study of American race relations that focuses on the influence of culture rather than skin color and how shared cultural values can result in both individual failure or success. It’s an important work that provides a much more hopeful framework towards improving America as a society than the more popular emotional urges seeking blame and revenge.

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  25. TXPatriot70

    What I tell you here is what I tell people when I recommend this book and that is you must be able to set aside everything you THOUGHT you knew before reading this. I, personally, have been relearning factual history the last 5 years because everything I’ve learned in school and media prior to that was 90% propaganda in order to push false narratives. This is a must read for anyone in search of truth sometimes the truth will hurt and offend you but I promise you’ll be more humble accepting it.

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  26. Lynn S. Hamilton

    “Black Rednecks and White Liberals” (catchy title, eh?) is the best book Ive read in the last 12 months. It is really 6 connected essays on a common theme. The three essays: the Real History of Slavery;Germans and History, and the Title essay are truly outstanding, the others vary between pedestrian and good.Some reviews here complain that this is not detailed enough.If you wish to read a scholarly monograph such as “Race Relations in “Cobb County” Georgia 1890-1895″ you wil be disappointed. This book is not that. What it is one of the great economist/historians of our time giving the reader tremendous insights. Dr. Sowell loves Western Civilization and the Enlighenment. So different from most academic worshipers ofRouseauistic primitivism. A quick comment on some prior reviews. “Scotch/Irish” One: Scotch in Scotland refers only to whisky. Secondly this sounds to me a lot like German-Polish orArmenian-Turk or Greek-Turk. Intermarriage occurred amoung these groups but I venture it was rare.Lastly one minor corretion to Dr.Sowell. He mentions that Charles II of England was forced into a midnight departure exile. Not the “Merry Monarch” but his polar opposite brother, JamesII.

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  27. Whistle Pig

    Sowell is one of the great minds of our time and apologists explaining our culture. This book holds special value and importance due to the subject matter and Dr. Sowell’s life, intellect, education, and life’s experience. Very accessible reading.

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  28. Chloe

    Description is accurate and delivered when promised

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  29. Chuck Crane

    When I was in college at Ann Arbor, we referred to Ypsilanti, Michigan as “Ypsitucky” because it was largely populated by White immigrants from the south. I marveled at how those people hated the Black immigrants from the south, and how the Blacks hated them. But if you threw a sheet over them (which the Whites probably did to themselves with some regularity), you would not be able to tell them apart. They talked and behaved in the same way. They had the same touchy pride, contempt for learning, and feckless approach to life. They shared the same dysfunctional culture, in other words. The surpassingly odd thing is that people condemned the Whites who held this culture, while excusing it among the Blacks, to the detriment of the Blacks. And this is what Black Rednecks and White Liberals (the first essay in this collection) is about.Sowell supports his case with sound reasoning from unimpeachable data. If anything is lacking, it is a clear idea of how, practically, to address the problem. But of course acknowledging the problem is the first step, and Sowell’s essay will convince any discerning person to do so.

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  30. Myles GoodwinMyles Goodwin

    I am truly amazed that Dr. Sowell has not received a Nobel Prize on the research and the clarity he provides for the historical roads that have lead to where we are as a society today. He explains not only many reasons for the state of affairs in American society concerning African Americans but also treats historical situations of Jews, Germans, and Slavick people’s, as well as Southern culture in America.I have not ceased to recommend this book to anybody who has even the slightest inclination to understand the current state of the world because this book touches many things. Also the title seems tongue-in-cheek but is actually quintessential terms for his presentation of Black culture as it has come to be.

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  31. RWalker

    Great book with deep insights into the so called “intellectuals”, their flawed logic and their objectives. The insights into slavery are incredibly interesting. When one realizes that slavery which is abhorrent, was a world wide phenomenon and that there is no ethnic group on the planet, that has not enslaved others or has been enslaved, it really puts things in perspective

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  32. Fortress Montana

    Sowell cuts through all of the political correct nonsense and spells things out the way that they are without sugar coating the message. He hits the reader with history, truth, facts, and statistics right between the eyes. His message will probably not sit well with most anyone that teaches at a modern university or is a student at one. His writing holds liberal policies accountable for the modern social and financial conditions of highly populated urban areas and sheds an uncomfortable light on the early American roots of what led modern ghetto culture to become what it is today. Only pick this book up if you are ready to wrestle with truth and reality.

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  33. Erin M. Schneider

    The guy is a genius. He really explains where our county has gone off the rails.

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  34. Hatchclan

    This is the first book I have read by Sowell and it was masterful. Well researched and the endnotes are as informative as the body. Offering what some may call a conservative view of history this book sheds light on an alternative view of past events. Highly accessible and informative.

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  35. mark kura

    Displine look into USA history.Stories are told this book brings out a look and discovery process to understand a time where school and educators don’t go.

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  36. Maxster

    It was only recently that I stumbled upon the work of Thomas Sowell. That happy event occurred as a result of reading a book written in similar vein by Mr. Shelby Steele. That said, I just finished reading “Black Rednecks and White Liberals” and was most impressed with both its thoroughness and Sowell’s incisive insights. This book is 1) very well researched/annotated, 2) reasonable in length (ie less than 300 pages in hardback), 3) punctuated with occasional, albeit understated, humor and 4) quite often takes positions that are not currently “politically correct”. Attribute number 4 is reason enough to evoke one’s curiosity, while attributes 1 through 3 make this book not simply worthy of being read, but given its subject matter, I would go so far as to say it is a book that absolutely should be read by All thinking persons – irrespective of skin color or political inclination.

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  37. Isis Proctor

    I loved this book so much, thankful that I bought it

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  38. Monte Cristo

    The title essay forever changed how I look at race in this country, completely (and successfully) undermining all Left-wing narratives about race. Two words: founder effect.Ta-Nehisi Coates isn’t fit to hold Sowell’s jock strap but the former (a flash in the pan imo) will garner more praise because he hates white people in all the ways that white liberals want to be hated by blacks. All the ways that appeal to the white liberal’s messianic desire for a self-abnegating way to help the Black Man.Sowell, otoh, has devoted his entire adult life to demolishing victim narratives of the sort to which Coates is so addicted. This, of course, makes him an unperson to the Left (I’ve rarely if ever seen his books reviewed by liberals or liberal newspapers) because he deals with hard facts and explains the stats in a way that demonstrates how either side can manipulate them for its purposes. Consequently, this not only deprives the angry black person of that sweet, sweet victimhood narrative, but (and just as painfully) deprives the white (typically Jewish) liberal of the basis for their messianism. White liberals are not going to save black people, no matter how much they need to tikkun olam or make the world a better place; only blacks can fix their problems and it starts with changing the dysfunctional behaviors they adopted from their white redneck neighbors in the South (the subject of the title essay), ie violence, drunkenness, teen pregnancy, etc. If they don’t change those behaviors, nothing will help them, not even the mighty white liberal. The latter can only make their situation worse (and they have).

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  39. Ken James

    Always enjoy his works. Sowell is an intellectual giant who writes in plain English so anyone can understand. I have heard people dispute him from an emotional standpoint but have never heard anyone refute the arguments he makes based on his research.

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  40. Clark Jackson

    I learned SO MUCH reading this book. Sowell has done his research. His book explains so much of the craziness associated with our culture today. He puts a nail in the coffin of racism, including the soft racism of lowered expectations. Much more covered in his book. Totally captivating from beginning to end.

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  41. cdmorrison4

    I’ve been reading Dr. Sowell’s work for years. This particular book is a masterpiece. While I don’t agree with all of his conclusions, he always challenges the status quo. There are definitely areas where he won the argument and persuaded me adopt a different view of things. You can’t go wrong with his books.

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  42. shoe addict

    Things we have been taught in school, what we learn from news media are debunked in this book

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  43. AF ONE

    One of my Top Ten must reads that I recommend to my business and political colleagues! A clear perspective of “Unconscious Bias” with new perspectives for all to consider!

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  44. Jerry M.

    The description for this book is accurate. This book should be required reading for every junior high, high school and college student.

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  45. James

    Sowell is a superior thinker. Even at the age of 90 he still produces top notch thought. If you believe Ebonics exist, prepare to learn something. Thomas Sowell knows the history and origins of his topics. If you believe government spending is the way to help people out of poverty, learn how, instead, it assures their families of becoming generational livers on the dole.

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  46. Jason D. Lambert

    Mr. Sowell provides so much evidence for what he presents that its hard to find a flaw in his writing. If I had a negative critique, it would be that I found it hard to follow all of the history of examples he gives only because of ignorance. So I think that my “negative” just challenges me to look into history more deeplythan I ever have before which could only enrich my knowledge. So, to sum up; Mr. Sowell has a wonderful writing style pointing out the falsified viewpoints of traditional thinking of race relations between different ethnic groups across history.

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  47. Kindle Customer

    Read it now, and then read it again! And then read anything Sowell writes! You won’t regret the time you spent on enriching your understanding on the subjects he writes about.

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  48. Morgan Hughes

    Wow, I have not read another book that slays so many sacred cows. Sowell’s book lays bear the history behind our cultural evolution as Americans and dispells a litany of falsehoods popularly regarded as truthful. Many of the aforementioned falsehoods have led to a great deal of social strife, conflict and misunderstanding between Americans of different backgrounds. Understanding these errors in our beliefs and blatant miseducation on some of these subjects would go a long way to increase our understanding of the underlying causes of our societal problems. A must read for any good studious iconoclast. Very few books have the ability to break down as many barriers to better future as this one has. A truly stunning combination of history, sociology and economics. Did you know that black inner city American culture is actually white redneck culture from centuries earlier? Read the book to find out how that makes perfect sense.

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  49. Paul

    The title is a bit misleading and covers a wide range of themes found across books like Conquests & Cultures for example. It is similar to Discrimination and Disparities in this respect. Takes an evidence-based approach to unpacking many myths that continue to this day.

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  50. KBVA

    As Sowell always does he asks questions that others do not either out of ignorance, fear or reasons that do not match their own agenda. He breaks down each question to its simplest form and from there builds his answer. This enables him to simplify what others consider to be complex issues (a gift truly lacking in academia). He presents his answers as theories not facts, but backs up his theories with facts and allows the reader to think and come up with his/her own answers from there. This is a great read, and brings up questions about what has for so long been accepted as fact. The best part about this book is that Sowell either intentionally or unintentionally teaches the readers to think for themselves, to find answers by asking questions and not accept statements or beliefs as truths without first asking for the facts that back these truths. Sowell truly is a gift for those who still value they lost art of thinking for oneself.

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  51. Sam

    There are 6 piercing essays included in this book, but I would consider the most relevant and the most needed these two: “The Real History of Slavery” and “History versus Visions”. Even though the essays are over 15 years old, it is not as if they’ve lost any significance. “The Real History of Slavery” will not only reveal the true extent of this tragic institution but will also leave you frustrated at how discussions of it today are so limited and so calculated, telling virtually only the story of Europeans enslaving Africans. In “History versus Visions” you’ll find, among other things, a discussion of why the story of slavery today is told mainly in those terms. In short, to score points against the United States and the West in general, which is done not only with slavery but also with conquest and war: the tendency for many to “localize evil” to condemn the societies in which they live, to talk as if all these undesirable things were peculiarly Western. If all this is news to you or you’re skeptical of the claim that there exists this kind of “weaponization” of history in contemporary America, please pick up the book.

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  52. Jesse

    This is the first Thomas Sowell book I’ve read. Hard to believe that they don’t teach kids in school about him. His insights and finding truly shatter the narrative of the most divisive and culturally destructive institutions. Through the presentation of a broad expanse of historical facts, Sowell proves that the atrocities of man is not an issue of the white race being the sole oppressor but rather people of all races and religions brutalizing other more vulnerable people of all races and religions. An amazing book.

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  53. C. Wallace

    This read has so many facts that we as a society tend to ignore. We must be more aware of our surroundings and the agendas and the main reasons behind them.

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  54. Cosmo Kramer

    This is a masterclass on the proper viewing and use of history and economics for understanding how we should chart the future.

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  55. Doug

    Sowell is often at his best when he writes about culture. This book contains six essays. Three of the essays are excellent, which will be discussed below. The other three are decent to varying degrees, but by themselves do not justify reading the book.The title of this book is highly provocative and may discourage prospective readers. However, although Sowell discusses the heated subject of race in depth, he properly identifies that while we can identify certain cultures (e.g., white redneck culture or inner-city black culture) as having embraced dangerous ideas (e.g., violence is an acceptable means to settling disputes), it would be wrong to generalize such ideas to race as such. Thus, while Sowell would say it is reasonable to condemn inner-city black culture (which includes many blacks and many non-blacks) for glorifying violence, it would be factually incorrect (and racist) to argue that blacks themselves are inherently predisposed to violence. Culture, which consists of voluntarily embraced and widely accepted ideas, is the key to explaining individual behavior, not race. Simply put, I do not see why any honest individual would find this book offensive.Great Essay #1: Black Rednecks and White LiberalsIn this essay, Sowell argues inner-city black culture evolved out of Southern redneck culture, which in turn evolved from the clannish societies from the lawless parts of Ireland and Scotland. Sowell corroborates this thesis by citing immigration patterns, previous scholarly works such as Grady McWhiney’s ‘Cracker Culture’ and lots of telling examples.Sowell describes inner-city black culture, which he calls “black redneck” culture, as containing the following uncouth characteristics:* aversion to work and studiousness* hostility towards intelligence* disrespect for the law* advertised readiness to fight* frequent abuse of alcohol* deliberate, often loud, displays of dominance* a sense of cultural pride, not from any accomplishment, but instead as an excuse to respond with violence to anything that can remotely be construed as an insult.In this highly persuasive essay, Sowell argues these characteristics were also once typical (and even stereotypical) of southern rednecks. Sowell also argues these characteristics are often disastrously portrayed by liberals as essential and respectable features of black culture.Great Essay #2: The Real History of SlaveryIn this essay, Sowell recognizes slavery is often blamed exclusively on white European culture. However, he considers this to be a serious injustice because slavery was practiced world-wide, including regions in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and in the Americas (outside of the European colonies.) Furthermore, it was white European culture that ultimately led to the global abolition of slavery. Needless to say, Sowell does not apologize for the monstrous injustice of slavery, he merely clarifies its practitioners and those of are responsible for ending it.Great Essay #3: Black Education: Achievements, Myths and TragediesIn this essay, Sowell highlights the success of the Dunbar academies, a system of all-black high schools in the District of Columbia during segregation. Sowell emphasizes the overwhelming success of these academies, including producing graduates who went on to become the first black full professor in an American university, the first black female to complete a doctorate, the first black graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, the first black general, the first black Cabinet member, the first black U.S. Senator since Reconstruction and numerous other future PhDs.To draw lessons for social policy today, Sowell notes the enormous amount of success of these academies despite their paucity of financial resources, their lack of quality facilities, the lack of diversity and the existence of institutionalized discrimination. Sowell then uses this observation, along with other inferences about the Harlem Renaissance, to argue that claims that blacks cannot succeed in education today due to inherent bias or lack of resources are simply wrong. As with the theme of this book, Sowell argues that the simple fact explaining the lack of black success in education is not racial, political or economic but cultural.I highly recommend this book for Sowell fans or anyone interested in studying black culture from a Conservative perspective.

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  56. rsando

    Great research by Thomas Sowell. This should be required reading at every university.

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  57. Raymond R. White

    Sowell, Thomas. Black Rednecks and White Liberals. 2005.[material in brackets are comments by Raymond R. White]People from the borderlands of Britain, mostly from the areas between northern England and southern Scotland, to the Colonies and the United States brought their cultures with them. They came most numerously to the southern colonies and states. See Albion’s Seed by Fischer. Malcolm Gladwell cites a study of the ease with which southerners tend to take offense.There had been only clan law in the borderlands for hundreds of years. If your clan did not react violently to incursions by other clans, you were likely to be dispossessed. Revenge raids & killings were more frequent there. Also highland Scotland and around Ulster. Turbulent areas. During the 1700’s lowland Scotland advanced rather spectacularly, so those of lower culture came to America earlier. Irish immigration was mostly from northern Ireland where fighting was common. Later Irish immigration came from southern Ireland in the middle of the 1800’s.Sowell cites many visitors to the US south making remarks that whites there, especially in rural areas, had little use for education, avoided regular work, and were likely to take offense & engage in violence for that reason. Pride, Honor. Their sexual mores were quite loose as well (fitting uncertain conditions). drunkenness, lack of self-restraint.Poverty: lack of entrepreneurship, lack of industriousness.Much southern industry was performed by northerners or immigrants.Butter & cheese production were very low while cattle were abundant.Natural resources often went unexploited.Illiteracy of 20% in 1850 vs 1% in New England.Sexual offenses severely punished in New England, much less so in the south and in areas from which southerners came.The speech patterns are traceable to Britain’s lawless areas.dis dat ain’t y’awl yaller ax for ask bile for boil acrost for across do for door I be for I amNo African words are found in black speech: Even in colonial times most African Americans had been born here.A majority of southern whites have moved beyond the negative subculture and so have ~2/3 of African Americans. Growth of the welfare state and ineffectiveness of policing & courts have allowed redneck African American culture to persist.Negative cultural values came from British immigrants from Britain’s borderlands. These white people had no history of recent slavery. The American black population picked up the negative values from the whites around them.Free Blacks tended to move north within the south and within the US as a whole. New England influenced education produced many highly productive American Blacks.While free Blacks were more often mulatto (37% vs 8% of slaves), their documented cultural advantages had more to do with their successes than did their genes.Laws restricting free Blacks in the north tended to be relaxed as cultural behavior improved. They became more oppressive as larger numbers of previously enslaved Blacks moved north.Observers and objective statistics bear out the general differences in white cultures in the South vs the northern areas.The conformity of opinion about slavery enforced in the South drove out dissenting people and habits of entertaining alternative views.White liberals have vociferously defended the bad cultural practices of Black rednecks as authentic “Black culture”, ignorant or pretending to be ignorant of where it came from. [this is a partisan political strategy].Pretense that crime is not much higher in urban Black communities, ineffective policing, welfare support all help the maintain redneck cultural values.Glorification of gangsta rap, denial of attitudes vs. other minorities,White liberals seem unconcerned about educational and skill gains that could be made by cultural changes among Black rednecks. They are intent upon using the situation of Black Americans to attack [western] civilization.Crediting slavery with the poor cultural attitudes of southern whites and Blacks is untenable when alternative hypotheses are heard. Caribbean Blacks went through slavery without becoming rednecks and show very different cultural attributes.Wherever the redneck cultural values & behaviors came from, changing them will do far more for African Americans than will calling them authentically Black culture.Are Jews Generic?The Real history of SlaverySlavery was a world-wide and ancient practice, most often of people of the same or closely related ethnicities. Today (circa 2000) slavery exists in Mauritania, Sudan, parts of Nigeria and Benin [also in the Uhygir region ruled by China 2021].[When European economic advance & social organization empowered them] Europeans brought slaves out of Africa, creating distinct racial differences between slaves and slave-owners. Racism grew out of slavery rather than the reverse. Especially true in southern US, where moral pressure against slavery called forth justifications based on race.Has sense of grievance ever improved a people’s progress?The struggle against world slavery took about a century. The American Civil War was a small and atypical part of that struggle.Consolidation of European and Asian polities into nations reduced local slave-raiding. Slaving persisted in the Balkans and in other areas of smaller, weaker polities. Africa then became the source of slaves for Europeans.Very late in its development only Western Civilization produced a revulsion to the institution of slavery. No other people of the world did this or joined in.While the day of emancipation in Brazil was a day of delirious celebration, the 1855 proclamation in the Ottoman Empire caused revolt that was quelled by repeal until 1860 when no enforcement was attempted.Roots author Alex Haley says he tried to create a myth to live by.At the peak of the slave trade, Africans kept more slaves for themselves than they sold to Europeans.Except for the Portuguese, Europeans did not participate in the actual slave raids, so were insulated from the brutality of them .Britain maintained warships off the Atlantic coast of Africa and off of East Africa to deter slave trading from the time of the Napoleonic wars to … .Within the Empire, slave owners were compensated for freeing their slaves.By 1860 the Atlantic slave trade was pretty much ended, but not the East African trade into Arab lands.Governor Gordon of the Sudan (working for Egypt under Britain earlier worked to abolish slavery) died in 1885 as the Mahdi defeated him to re-institute the slave trade, which then lasted at least until Kitchener’s arrival in 1898.Most women & girls died as did most castrated males in crossing the Sahara into Arab slavery.Plenty of people in the West defended slavery, while no defense was needed in the rest of the world.1705 Most of the Quaker leaders of Philadelphia owned slaves.1756 only 10% of leaders did.1758 Quakers of Philadelphia banned slave ownership by members.Most slave boats escaped detection in the Red Sea and East Africa.Cuba 1886 (gradually from 1880).All of the Western hemisphere by 1888.Earlier all of Western Europe [Britain 1833] and then offshoot nations. European imperialism at its height brought about the end of slavery.Pirates raided the Philippines for slaves until the US took over in 1898.French Senegal slavery going just fine to 1904.Portuguese Guinea did not end slavery until ~1910.Mauritania 1981.Most of the African slaves imported into the Western hemisphere wound up on plantations. It has been argued that plantation slavery was more brutal than servant-slavery, which was certainly true within say the United States.However:Accounts of miseries and mortality of slavery in most of the world are rare, as no anti-slavery movements developed to record them.Thomas Jefferson seconded a motion in the Virginia House of Burgesses to allow slave owners to free their slaves (1769). It was defeated.Thomas Jefferson’s criticism of George III for overriding colonial Virginia’s attempt to outlaw slavery was removed from the draft of the Declaration of Independence by southern pressure.Jefferson drafted a Virginia state constitution that prohibited any future importation of slaves 1776 (defeated).1783 Jefferson tried to add to the Virginia constitution a proposal for gradual emancipation of slaves (defeated).1784 Jefferson proposed that all western territories make slavery illegal. This would have included Mississippi & Alabama. Defeated by one vote.Jefferson inherited slaves as part of a mortgaged estate. He was constrained to maintain the property.1787 Congress declared for no slavery in the northern territories (Northwest Ordinance).1832 Virginia legislature voted 58 to 73 to abolish slavery.1790 35,000 free Africans in the south. Nearly 140,000 by 1810.An attempt by colonial Georgia to outlaw slavery was overruled by London; likewise a Pennsylvania tax on slaves.Washington freed his slaves by leaving some in the north and by his will.There was a much smaller number of Africans in Mohammedan countries than in the Western Hemisphere. Marriage and sex were suppressed among the slaves and childhood mortality was extremely high. Slave reproduction was repressed. [Population samples of DNA will confirm this.]The influence imposed on most countries with slaves came from outside, decisions imposed by people who did not have to live with the consequences of freeing slaves.The argument that any wealth and human capital of descendants of slave owners was produced by slaves evades evidence thatWhere slavery was more predominant, people are less rich & less skilled.Brazil imported several times the number of slaves that the US did, without producing higher culture or wealth.Much slavery was simply to show off wealth & power, not to produce them.Attitudes towards work previously done by slaves weakened work ethics and personal ambitions.Creation of disdain for all work.The Western moral dislike of slavery is used against the West, but not other cultures. No reparations of other cultures are asked or expected. It occurs to no one that the more hierarchical cultures of the world own moral guilt for past slavery.“It was the rise of modern free societies and their accompanying ideologies the West which made slavery stand out in stark contrast, and it was the emergence of a general questioning of institutions and beliefs in the eighteenth century – also in the West – that brought slavery into question.”[Per capita GDP had risen by 2 to 3 times from 1000 AD to 1700 in Britain and Western Europe, while rising only 4% in the rest of the world. per capita GDPYear World US W Europe UK1000 450 400 425 4001500 566 400 790 7141600 596 400 907 9741700 616 527 1032 12501820 667 1257 1243 1706The innovations leading to these increases in per capita GDP resulted fromcultures that questioned & tested conclusions/ways of doing things more rigorously than had previous generations.]Black Education: Achievements, Myths, and TragediesDogma of the ed elite: you can’t expect children who are not middle class to do well on standardized tests. The tests are culturally biased and do not predict future academic or life success. Except that many schools have produced high scores from low-income, highly segregated schools.and high scores are predictive of academic & life success.Schools that have succeeded include private, public, secular, and religious.Currently and back into the 1800’s.The M-Street or Dunbar (High) School 1870’s to 1955. all black. DC 1892-3: parents were 51 laborers, 25 messengers, 12 janitors, & 1 doctor. Many low level federal employees: clerks & messengers. Not middle class. More of mixed blood? Not by the colors showing in class pictures. Less funding than the other 3 DC high schools. Outscored 2 of them. Less tardiness & absenteeism than the other 3. No entry test, not selective. Some self-selection by parents serious about education. High quality principals and teachers as less discriminatory pay and few jobs for highly qualified blacks. Reputation such that some selective colleges did not require entry tests for Dunbar grads. 1970’s study showed more black PH.D.s from Dunbar than from any other US high school. IQs averaged 111 in 1939 & 1950.Educational dogma is that the school does not matter—when in fact it does.Brown vs. Board of Education resulted in Dunbar being made a neighborhood school. The neighborhood was mostly redneck blacks who, in too large a proportion, were uncontrollable. Teachers used to stay many years but then began to retire asap. Previously Dunbar had drawn from all the black population in DC. No one at all said or did anything to preserve the quality school that had been operating for 85 years.Fewer Dunbar grads went to college in 1993 than 60 years before.Edward Brooke was a Dunbar grad.Other exceptional schools: St. Augustine in New Orleans, Houston, PS91 of Brooklyn (the only one in its district to score at or above national norms in reading.Harlem public schools were comparable to those of white working class people on the lower east side in the 1940’s.In the past parental involvement was absent and not essential. Now parents are expected to teach by covering homework.Educational dogmas trump documented successful results: Ingleside, CA, Houston TX, Garfield High (Jaime Escalante—driven out). While Esalante worked one fourth of the nation’s Hispanic students to pass AP Calculus came from Garfield. State & Federal bureaucrats do not pay the prices.Portland Ark. violates ed dogmas: uses Directed Instruction (called “teaching”). This is shown to be especially effective with at risk students, instead of “facilitating”. They put reading first.No single formula is the answer. KIPP follows this idea, keeping effective teachers and letting others go. The secret ingredient is WORK.Ethnically segregated schools, with lower class (poor) students have been successful everywhere.Diversity is not a requirement [useful for working with different kinds of people]Afrocentricity does not help and is historically nonsense.More blacks usually gets the school lower scores.Most free blacks could read 1850.Black English or Ebonics is northern English-southern Scottish from before the Scottish Enightenment.Lower class whites in GB still show many of the negative attitudes of rednecks.Black education in US started with white teachers as too few blacks were educated enough to teach or administer.As black colleges replaced white admin & teachers with blacks their performance deteriorated. Race over merit had too much influence.Self-interest over zeal for improving students.W.E.B. Du Bois emphasized educating the talented tenth; Booker T. Washington emphasized self-improvement for all.Black Studies have been warped by low quality hires, too many at once.Affirmative Action places black students among those who are better prepared for work at the particular college. [See Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath) p63-98 data showing the top of any class (major) in top or mediocre colleges go on to perform in their area, while the rest of those in the major do not. This suggests that affirmative action is very bad for careers].Gap in years of schooling of males 5.4 black, 8.7 for whites 1940 fell to less than 2 years by 1960.1940 87% of blacks below poverty line1960 47%1970 30%1980 29%Faster progress before civil rights laws and welfare increases.Successful schools are ignored by educators, politicians, community activists, and intellectuals. There is no political or financial advantage to emulating successful black schools [so bad public schools remain the most significant form of systemic racism that we have. ]

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  58. SFReader

    According to black race-hustlers and the white liberals who buy into their “blame-everything-on-whitey” garbage, all the problems that plague inner-city black populations are caused by racism, discrimination, and oppression– all of which, of course, are the fault of white racists.Sowell shows all that up for the nonsense it is, and clearly and convincingly argues that the real problem is black “culture” itself, or at least the “culture” that exists among inner-city ghetto populations– a culture that promotes chip-on-the-shoulder aggression, extreme violence, irresponsibility in all areas of life (financial, sexual, etc.), and a disdain for both work and education. He also shows that this “culture” is in no way “authentically African,” but was in fact absorbed from the white rednecks who made up the bulk of the white southern population prior to the Civil War. (He also shows that, contrary to popular belief, most southern whites were poor because of their laziness and disdain for work.)The book clearly shows why the “war on poverty” and the welfare state have done such a dismal job of remedying the problems in the inner cities. Those programs are based on the false premise that all blacks WANT education, WANT to work, WANT to better themselves and become successful, productive citizens. That simply isn’t true among blacks afflicted with the redneck mentality– and thus those programs have not only failed, but have exacerbated the problem by enabling black rednecks to go right on being lazy, ignorant, and irresponsible. (Among whites, the redneck “culture” has largely died out because most white rednecks had to abandon it in order to survive.)Black race-hustlers who make a living blaming everything on “racism”– Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, for instance– will hate this book, assuming they even bother to read it, which is unlikely. So will white liberals who like to view blacks as “victims” and seek to assuage their “white guilt” by throwing more and yet more tax money into the very “social programs” that have failed so dismally for nearly half a century.For everybody else– those who want to know what the real problem is, and why it has grown worse despite all the money wasted on misdirected efforts to fix it– this book is a must-read. In fact, it should be required reading for everybody.

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  59. BC

    Thomas Sowell is one the numerous conservative commentators whose columns I have read for many years. I really never considered him to be a standout within our ranks until I picked up “Visions of the Anointed” earlier this year. Reading those pages was an entirely different experience from perusing his weekly syndicated product. Sowell is the type of author who works best within a venue rich in space and time. He needs to develop his thoughts and get rolling from there. He does not come off as well when limited to 900 words. Here, in this book, he provides readers with six masterful essays which examine history, minority relations within human populations, education, and the politically correct myths which debase our society.The strongest section here is the essay for which the book is titled because its analysis is unique and original. Sowell traces the social pathologies of the modern ghetto back to southern culture and shows that its ultimate behavioral source comes from the people who once inhabited the northern districts of England along with some parts of Scotland. A stunning point concerns IQ scores. Northern blacks in the First World War had higher scores than southern whites as they were not debilitated by the effects of a philistine and redneck culture. His argument (justly) suggests that the tests which we all too often dismiss as “biased” are highly dependent upon the environment in which individual persons are raised. This certainly makes sense given the single parent homes from which many lower performing children come.”The Real History of Slavery” is an essay which describes a past of which most Americans are ignorant. I have discovered that many people simple accept the “Roots” version of events without realizing that whites never traipsed around in the African vegetation as a means to rope up the indigenous population. Before there was a cure for malaria there was no colonization or even much in the way of visitation. Sowell documents the role of Africans in the slave trade (which was monumental) and the fact that the British practically went broke in the attempt to purge the earth of this heinous and disgraceful institution.”Black Education” was the essay that seemed most personal. Sowell examines the way in which Dunbar High School, an elite all-black school in Washington DC, thrived and produced in its hallways a long forgotten American elite. Dunbar’s excellence ended with segregation but it set a sterling example of the way in which blacks–like every other group of people–respond favorably to high expectations and an environment devoted to intellectual rigor. The Herculean accomplishments of Dunbar are but a footnote today, but the progressive wasteland of education is as expansive as the tax code. At least Sowell remembers what once was. I can not stress enough to conservatives how much this man is a superstar among his peers.

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  60. art lewis

    Not driven by ideology, Sowell in this book brilliantly, clearly, and accessibly treats facts like a rubik’s cube puzzle, and by highly incisive juxtapositions of facts he casts great illumination on numerous questions. He is someone who finds ways to test every claim. I am taking this work in as an audiobook, played at slightly less than full speed so I can easily follow all that he says. This book is an incredibly refreshing work in an age of mindless and/or sinister bias on all sides of the political spectrum. Sowell is a national treasure and a hero of the quest for truth. If only we had more people like him. A great man.

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  61. John B.

    An accurate review and analysis of history. Not just U.S. history but of all history and how that history has impacted societal behavior, various groups or people, and the direction of that counties government moving forward.

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  62. Kameron Jurey

    Book is informative and is in great condition.

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  63. Risa R.

    If you have any confusion or frustration around racial issues in the U.S., you owe it to yourself to read this book. It is the most lucid and persuasive treatment of race I have ever read. Dr. Sowell’s explanation of where the “black subculture” came from will open your eyes to a new understanding of how and why it is death-inducing to black Americans AND whites who think they are loving and supportive but who are keeping blacks on the “Democratic Plantation.” Have the courage and intellectual curiosity to read it and you will never be the same.

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  64. Joseph J. Hines

    This is among the most interesting and enlightening books ever written. It is vintage Thomas Sowell- a thoroughly researched, broad sweep of history, economics and sociology and their impact on humanity. The writing style is accessible, interesting and engaging rather than bogged-down and dry like other books on similar subjects.The greatness lies in debunking vast numbers of popular myths and misconceptions about differences and similarities between races, cultures, nationalities and their conduct. Most readers will be shocked to learn of the popular acceptance and practice of slavery worldwide and that Western culture lead the fight- literally- to end slavery. Europeans, Asians, Africans, South Americans, North Americans all engaged in slavery to an extent never discussed- at least not in America. Our sociologists, historians, politicians and others of low motivation would have us believe the institution was originated by and limited to the U.S. southland. Nothing could be further from the truth. Slavery continued in the Ottoman Empire for decades after the US Civil war and for generations in Africa, Asia, the Islamic culture and elsewhere despite vast military expenditures by European countries to stamp it out.Dr. Sowell details dozens of additional examples of shocking, tragic relationships based on economic success, culture, work ethic differences and the effect of identity politics. Success of the Chinese, Lebanese, Albanians, Jewish and Tamil cultures among other populations resulted in discrimination, slaughter and exile of the successful by the less so, incited principally by political forces. A section describes anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany resulting from the same tactics of differentiating a culture among the larger population and inciting it to tragic discrimination. Indifference to Nazism by German communities outside Germany testifies to the potential of politics and politicians to corrupt populations.This book dispels powerful myths and debunks the rhetoric of those who seek to divide the world with false history and science and an uninformed worldview.If you want information and enlightenment, you will love this book.Dr. Sowell’s twenty-five years’ of research coupled with the observations and research of others across centuries

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  65. Edward J. Vasicek

    Thomas Sowell is undoubtedly one of America’s great intellectual treasures. Sowell offers an alternate explanation (compared to the politically-correct party line) about the lot of African Americans as well as beliefs about the Jewish and German peoples. He does this via 6 essays.His first essay, “Black Rednecks and White Liberals” is first in placement and priority. Sowell postulates that the “redneck” culutre actually originated in Ireland, Scotland, and the northern regions of England at a time when those areas were anything but civil and stable. This violent culture was carried across the sea to our southern states (partly because the northerners refused them permission to settle up north). This became the “redneck culture” that dominated the south even before the Civil War, characterized by lack of discipline, out-of-wedlock births, violence, and taking pride in ignorance.Sowell argues that the Black value system is essentially the “red neck” value system, and that Black language is essentially “red neck” language. Whereas the Irish and Scottish left their uncultured lifestyles behind, and whereas most southerners have done the same, this “red neck” culture is not only propigated in the Black community, it is celebrated. But, Sowell points out, embracing the values of that culture sabotages any attempt to rise within society. Fasicinating and extensively documented thoughts!The second essay, “Are Jews Generic?” analyzes the blessings and plights of society’s “middlemen.” Great reading.The third essay is a fascinating one about “The Real History of Slavery.” Sowell tells us that slavery was practiced on every continent, toward every race, and that it was the West which put an end to it around the globe.His chapter on “Germans and History” is a fair assessment of what happened during the Nazi years and the plight of scattered ethnic Germans after WWII. A must read.Sowell’s firth essay is titled, “Black Education: Achievements, Myths, and Tragedies.” Sowell is wise enough to ask the simple question, “Why do educators refuse to look at the success stories of Black education and model programs after them?”His last essay, “History versus Visions” talks about the rewriting of history and in many ways refers back to the first essay.Whether you agree completely with Sowell or not, you will probably find this book thought provoking, extremely reasoned, tediously documented, and interesting to read. Sowell is a brilliant man who is capable of noting the obvious. Great work!

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  66. Amazon Customer

    Awesome!

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  67. Dianne Flannagan

    This book surprised me at the content in it. Opens your eyes open to a lot of things. Great read, will buy again

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  68. Osagi-San

    Dr. Sowell takes us on a roundabout path to explain how his Black Rednecks came to be. Not many would have looked to the Scots/Irish immigrants that landed in the Appalachian sections of the country, but Dr. Sowell explains in depth. From there he turns to his White Liberals to show how they developed. But the most interesting parts of this book are where he tells how New England abolitionists became teachers for the earliest black students who became black leaders. But the time it took for the educational system to develop black teachers and researchers led to internecine fights between old and new. This is a brilliant book that clarifies much of our history that is never taught.

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  69. Pilar

    Excellent book, it’s been so long since I have read anything that challenged me to re-evaluate my beliefs. Thank you.

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  70. Dakota papa

    Interesting thesis: that urban African Americans underperform educationally and in other measures of worldly success for the same reasons that poor southern whites historically have. They share the same culture, which African Americans brought north with them when they migrated. Sowell argues that the culture of both is the culture of 18th Century northern rural England and Southern Scotland, the areas from which most poor whites emigrated in the 18th century and that it is one that values personal pride (to the point of a willingness to resort to violence as a result) and undervalues work, educational achievement and other middle class notions. Sowell argues that that culture has changed in England and Scotland and, to a lesser extent in the rural South but that it is protected in African American urban areas by the opprobrium of being said to be “acting white.” And that, ironically acting white, specifically 19th Century rural Southern white, is what African American urban culture largely is.

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  71. Xianlewis

    Sowell provides a well-cited dive into history that is widely not considered in the modern mind. It provides much-needed perspective on just about every racial issue we are facing today. Each section of the book reads like its own treatise. Recommend reading them separately.

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  72. Pieter D. Rossouw

    I found this book quite different from the normal race and economic related perspectives one is presented with. Yet, these perspectives are described in a very logical manner that make them quite believable.I do have one problem thought pattern that I will have to consider a bit before accepting or rejecting. In the first section Sowell proposes the thesis that in effect modern African American Ghetto culture is an outflow of “learning” from the Northern English Rednecks or Crackers who had migrated to the Hillbilly South many years ago. Having spent a lot of time researching poverty in Sub Saharan Africa and finding lots of cultural similarities between many cultures indigenous to Sub Saharan Africa, the USA African Ghetto culture and the White Redneck culture. I wonder if this was actually a White Redneck to Black Redneck cultural transfer as proposed. I wonder if the two “Redneck cultures” did not arise from the relatively poorly developed levels of civilization of these peoples at their places of origin that simply remained in place and were enhanced through “cross pollination”?Other than this a very enlightening read that explains a lot of discrepancies.

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  73. Robert D

    This is one of the best books I’ve read in years. It probably won’t be of interest to the far left because it challenges their current victimhood agenda, contains lots of history and facts, and just makes sense overall. If the far left insists on focusing on slavery and victimhood in schools, then this book should be on the required reading list as well.

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  74. Tallships

    NOT a quick read, this book requires much thought. The author put a lot of work into this. Each essay is well documented with over 100 footnotes. Thought provoking counterpoints to what has become mainstream culture. He reminds us that idealizing the past creates an atmosphere where we ignore the real facts of the past to only see what we wish to see. We can never learn lessons from the past if we gnome what really happened.

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  75. Shepherd Book

    Whether you happen to be as hardcore a libertarian and believer in the power of the free market as Sowell or not (I’m not), there is an enormous amount of information here that’s worth considering. His ability to present a counter-narrative other currently popular narratives and back it up with mountains of research and data delivered in a matter of fact way is almost unprecedented. He makes a good case that what you’ve heard about various issues might not be the whole story, the a whole explanation, and here are a ton of facts to that effect and other alternative theories that might explain them better. Is his own theory the whole picture, the perfect unifying description of the physics of race? Probably not, but it seems very likely that it’s a not insignificant portion that needs to be considered and taken into consideration when seeking to address these problems in our own time. At the very least, I think he makes a case for his view of the facts of history that equals or betters its alternatives, and even on a purely practical level has some real potential. One of the problems with a lot of current race theories is that they don’t seem to be able to get the results people (who actually want the problems bettered) want. They often seem to extend rather than resolve the problem, on a purely practical level, to erode rather than increase the ability of everyone to live together and enjoy mutual success and reconciliation. Sowell, ever the pragmatist, isn’t very concerned with what would make people feel better or more comfortable, only with what seems to be the case and what would actually help make things better. And that’s a very Sowellian approach. Life, in his view, is not about how you wish the world was, but is about facing up to what it is and making the best compromises you can to get what you want with the least cost, however you might feel about it. His question, I think, would be, what do you value more, your narrative that makes you feel better about yourself and the world, or actually improving your lot? He’s not an idealist, he’s a pragmatist. Better compared to what, worse compared to what, where is the proof, show me the results, are some of his favorite statements. He’s also not one to be impressed by how noble an idea is or how mythic or lovely it sounds or how great it makes us seem or feel if it doesn’t actually live up to the facts or produce real results. Personally, I’m inherently skeptical of some of his own approaches and recommendations. I would temper his libertarianism a bit. But he’s surely won my respect as an intellectual more than the vast majority of all thinkers and historians currently writing today. If I had to sum up his theory, it would be that black people in America today are not primarily held back either their race (as racial supremacists might argue) or racism (personal or structural, as post-modern social justice advocates might argue), but by their own culture and actions. I don’t think he’s leaving out the possibility that some portion of their position might be and is the result of those forces. His theory, as I take it, is simply that these are not the primary source of the problems for black people today, nor are they the locus of their greateat opportunity for change and empowerment. He constantly turns his gaze on other cultures that have suffered tragedies and injustices and identities how, as a culture, a focus on where we can produce value is more important than how it is distributed, and the value of human capital as the ultimate social and economic power that all people can weird, regardless of their position within a society. Human capital being a kind of social and personal virtue, the kind of wealth that proceeds from being able to trust people within your group, from hard work and dedication and loyalty and care and kindness and faithfulness, from being clever and industrious and creative. Human virtue, he seems to argue, trumps all considerations of political or social influence. It is the primary generative power of social and economic wealth. And it lies within our individual power to seek and obtain. In denying black people the responsibility and the agency to obtain that power, we deny them the birthright of all humanity; we infantilize them, we do them a disservice, not a service. It can be done, he argues from many historical and contemporary examples. And it can be undone, he also argues with many examples. I think Shelby Steele’s “White Guilt” is an interesting book to read as a followup to this one. Sowell isn’t here to make either white people or black people feel good or bad about themselves. No one can be held responsible for the history and culture they are born into, he argues, white or black. Nevertheless, unless we shoulder the adult burden of either upholding, wasting, destroying, or surpassing that inheritance, we shall all remain merely children and ineffective, infantilized pawns of our own history. It is within the means of white and black people to lose by personal dissipation everything their predecessors worked for, and it is within the means of black and white people to gain by personal excellence everything their predecessors wished for. In this aspect I take Sowell to be an optimism and an individualist and a humanist. He doesn’t write off the influence of other forces, but seeks to return our focus to the source of power and distress closest to us, the deepest well, and the one that is most within out own actual control. As a practical, pragmatic approach, it’s hard to argue with. It asks a question of all of us, white or black, of who we could be if we were truly living up to our own greatest ideals. Of what limitations we might overcome, of what futures we might secure for ourselves and our children, as well as what futures we might lose if we don’t have a care for ourselves and if we let ourselves be distracted by false promises of power without personal cost. Power, if I take Sowell correctly, does not live in the body politic, but in the human heart, in the family, in our own character. And no policy is good enough to save any society if it loses its focus on that character, nor is any policy powerful enough to long prevent a society from rising if it has that kind of human capital.

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  76. Doug Phillips

    This is the best book I have read in a long time. Almost every academic discussion of race and slavery is tainted by bias, at present primarily the bias of (mostly white) people who are hell-bent on demonstrating their own virtue by mouthing anti-white slogans and truisms that are contrary to the facts. This book is written not from a narrow and aggrieved perspective, but from a broad and fair perspective that takes into account the ubiquity of slavery in the world from time immemorial, as well as the critical role that (mostly white) people in the United States played in putting an end to it. The United States did not by any means invent slavery; it was a terrible inheritance. But the Unites States ended slavery in what by historical standards was an amazingly short time, at the cost of more American lives in the Civil War than have been lost in any other war before or since. On this and a number of other matters, Sowell provides compelling evidence that the currently-prevailing narrative is itself a highly destructive force that harms black people far more than it helps them.

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  77. Dave Murray

    The book inspired reflection on ideas that have worked their way into my thinking by way of the steady drone of what can only be called propaganda. A guidebook to useful thinking.

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  78. Artiom

    Very fast shipping and book is in excellent condition

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  79. Ash Danger

    Well reasoned, researched, and referenced. A must for any open mind in today’s venomous society. Sowell’s explanations of history and the consistency of human behavior and prejudices across time and cultures SHOULD make anyone question the “truth” of today’s narratives.

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  80. Sunshine21

    An amazing and bold set of essays speaking truth to so many of today’s problems. Refudiating much of the dogma that exist and is perpetuated as absolute truth. For example, black redneck culture actually is actually from the highlands of Ireland. And is a culture of failure but it’s held sacrosanct because it has been called “authentic” Black Culture. Therefore to speak against the uneducated ,uncouth ,rowdy ,risky, promiscuous and unambitious behavior is to be called a racist or Uncle Tom. That is just one example! Other chapters included : are Jews generic? the real history of slavery, Germany and history . black education and history vs visions. All excellent hard-hitting chapters. Logically and straight forwardly presented. An enjoyable and enlighting read. . Its a must-read for every thinking individual unafraid to confront truth and ideas contrary to the media and college elites. thank you Thomas Sowell. I have bought extra copies for gifts.

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  81. Money Mo

    The very existence of this book is a testament to its validity. While accurate and unassailable, such a book dassn’t be penned with regard to the conduct of black rednecks. White rednecks on the other hand, no problem. This too, it would appear, is yet another check valve in our racial comm lines.

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  82. David Williams

    I loved the book. Thomas Sowell is probably one of the greatest economist/historian, if not the greatest of our time.

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  83. Anne M.

    I wish every young person in today’s corrupted institutions of higher learning was required to study Dr Sowell. Interesting how few people attack him. They just simply ignore him, which is a testament to the power of his analysis.

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  84. Avi

    This book is a must read for everyone. The reader will walk away informed and enlighten.

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  85. Cincinnati Joe

    I am re-reading several of my favorite authors and am finding that what they wrote when I was a student still remains unaddressed by the public and distorted by the press and unscrupulous politicians. Misinformation is spewing today like an uncontrollable gusher of ignorance, but Sowell tries to cap this foolishness with obvious research and first-hand observations. Sowell, Charles Krauthammer, Walter Williams and Milton Friedman, and others, have repeatedly attempted to stem the tide or ignorance with carefully drawn historical examples and logic, but largely to no avail. This volume is another attempt to document factual events and pleads with the reader to stay close to the truth rather than wander off into the woods of popular passions.

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  86. Kenneth Carter

    I’d like to share two observations about Dr. Sowell’s thesis regarding Black Rednecks:Firstly, if “residual effects of slavery” is used as an explanation for psycho-social pathology found within inner city black ghettos, then “lineal” effects of white Southern redneck culture upon former slaves must also be acknowledged by the Left. Why? This is so because Leftists reflexively use the “victim card” and so to deny these lineal effects would thwart such usage.That is, to do otherwise, as Sowell seems to hint, is to suggest that what has become known as redneck values independently arose within the slave population(1); and this, of course, would be anathema to the Left. Yet, Sowell makes the historical evidence clear: Northern New England vs Southern Redneck cultural differences existed between blacks who lived in the North as opposed to the South. And so, behaviors thought to be culturally and “authentically black” need to be deconstructed, in particular, by the Progressive Black Left.Secondly, there appears to be a confluence between the 60’s counter-cultural revolution and black redneck culture brought forward to that time; that is, the counter culture provided a religio-political psychology(2) which helped to perpetuate an already existing “oppositional-defiant-value-laden” black redneck life style.Peculiarly, members of the White Left and Black Left tend to engage Sowell’s cultural analyses via Nietzschean ressentiment(3); that of invoking a “progressive play” in which “master morality” and “slave morality” become part of a metanarrative through which a backdrop of “cosmic justice”(4) may be better served while the “sins of the West”(5) remain in a state of perpetual adjudication.This book is classic Sowell as he unpacks “the vision of the anointed”(6): religio-political epiphanies of racial socialism.Endnotes:(1) ~Black Rednecks, p.63: “…Whether black redneck values and lifestyle are a lineal descendant of white redneck values and lifestyle, as suggested here, or a social phenomenon arising independently within the black community and only conincidentally similar, it is still a way of life that has been tested before and found wanting, as shown by its erosion over the generations among whites who experienced its counterproductive consequences.” ~Sowell’s, “The Quest For Cosmic Justice”, 1999, p. 17-18: “…many observers of nineteenth-century America saw striking social and economic differences between Southern whites and Northern whites–the Southerners having less education, poorer work habits, less entrepreneurship, more violence…Yet if one traces back to Britain the ancestors of these Southerners, one finds the very same social patterns in these and other things, long before they crossed the Atlantic or saw the first black slave…Those who settled in the South came from different regions [in Britain and] with very different cultural patterns….”(2) See John McWhorter’s “Losing The Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America”(2000) and “Authentically Black: Essays For The Black Silent Majority”(2003); cults of victimology, separatism, and anti-intellectualism as well as the “new black double consciousness” are respectively-eloguently deconstructed. In addition, see McWhorter’s recent essay entitled, “Watts, 40 Years Later”, Washington Post, 08/15/05. For further analysis, please see David Horowitz’s “The Politics of Bad Faith”(1998) and “Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About The 60’s”(2005) by Free Press.(3) See “Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault” by Stephen Hicks, pp.193-194: “…And so the weak[slave moralists] invent a rationalization–a rationalization that tells them they are the good and the moral because they are weak, humble, and passive…[and because they are]…on the side of the weak and the downtrodden.” So adopted, this rationalization has become part of a master-slave metanarrative which characterizes so much of Leftist liturgy; ironically, this remains so even though socialist faith is, nonetheless, the “historical loser.”(4) ~The Quest For Cosmic Justice, p.6-7: “With people across virtually the entire ideological spectrum being offended by inequalities and their consequences, why do these inequalities persist? Why are we not all united in determination to put an end to them? Perhaps the most cogent explanation was that offered by Milton Friedman: A society that puts equality–in the sense of equality of outcomes–ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.” ~Black Rednecks, pps.263-267; p.264: “Lamenting the vagaries of fate may leave us with a galling sense of helpless frustration, which many escape by transforming the tragedy of the human condition into the specific sins of specific societies. This turns an insoluble problem of cosmic justice into an apparently more manageable issue of social justice…”(5) Black Rednecks: pps. 62, 262, 264-266, 268, 270, 275, 281, and 289; p.270: “Studying Western imperialism in isolation from other, non-Western, imperialism–such as that of Genghis Khan or the Ottoman Turks–makes all the injustices, oppressions, and horrors incident to imperialism itself seem like depravities peculiar to the West. The tendentiousness of such a view of history stands out particularly when efforts are made to depict the United States as especially guilty of sins common to the human race around the world…”~While having an abiding respect for those lives which were lost as a result of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade as well as the Sub-Saharan slave trade, this reviewer laments the fact that members of the Black Left pecularily remain both chronically and morbidly preoccupied with only the sins of “dead-white-males”, seemingly looking back as far as colonial Jamestown, 1607; a preoccupation of which has thus far prevented an honest examination of the sins of slavery and genocide as they exist upon the African continent.(6) See Sowell’s “The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As A Basis for Social Policy”, published by Basic Books, 1995; p.5: “It is a vision of differential rectitude. It is not a vision of the tragedy of the human condition: Problems exist because others are not as wise or as virtuous as the anointed.”

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  87. matthew p biagioli

    Thomas Sowell is a man of integrity, in the face of vitriolic opposition of anyone who dares to disagree with main steam narrative Sowell never backs down. I’ve followed his career for years. He is a treasure in today’s world and this book was stuffed to the brim with history data and truth.

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  88. Jm

    Perhaps one of the most original and eye opening book I have ever read. Shocking.

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  89. J. E. Marlin

    You’ll see in other reviews that it’s a collection of loosely connected essays, and that is true. I started by approaching it as such. But if you read through it front to back, you will find that the essays build on each other. The earlier ones are almost like prerequisites for the later ones.For example, if you have read the first essay, “Black Rednecks and White Liberals,” then by the time you get to the essay “Black Education,” you will know what Sowell means when he references “black redneck culture.” He doesn’t have to take a side trip to explain or defend the concept, which he has already done in an earlier essay. Similarly, when you hit “Germans and History,” which asks whether there is something unique about the German national character that predisposed them to the most infamous 12 years of their history, you will already be familiar with the concept of economic middlemen existing, and being hated, in countries around the world, if you have already read “Are the Jews Generic”? This will help you understand the movement of the argument in the essay on Germans.The last essay, “History Versus Visions,” makes some points about the damage that is done when the actual facts of history are ignored or bent to fit a present-day “vision” of the world that includes picking heroes and villains. Because I had read the book front to back, this essay came off to me as having a huge number of mic-drop moments. However, if you just picked up this essay and read it in isolation, you would probably think it had a bunch of ridiculous and unsupported claims in it, because it references many historical situations that are not well-known or trendy, the facts of which have been established in earlier essays. “History Versus Visions” is probably the only essay in this book that it would be impossible for most readers, unless they are already very knowledgeable about history, to pick up and read “cold.” It ties together all the myth-busting that has been happening throughout the book.I consider myself relatively well-read on history, especially as far as having a perspective that includes ancient history and an international perspective. But I learned many, many things from this book. There are whole volumes of history of which I was unaware — for example, that there was a large Lebanese minority in Sierra Leone who functioned as economic middlemen. That’s just one example out of many. Sowell has done extensive international research. This book has 63 pages of endnotes.

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  90. Sue Dough

    There are few authors who reach across the plain and actually open your mind and educate you. Of course this relies on a mind that is open to evaluation.

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    Black Rednecks and White Liberals

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