Coming Apart

The State of White America, 1960-2010

Murray, Charles A.

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Coming Apart
A critique of the white American class structure argues that the paths of social mobility that once advanced the nation are now serving to further isolate an elite upper class while enforcing a growing and resentful white underclass.

Publisher: New York [N.Y.] : Crown Forum, c2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 0307453421
Characteristics: viii, 407 p. :,ill., maps, charts ;,24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 23, 2014

Im trying to puta hold on Coming Apart,by Charles Murray.You seem to have made changes to the system.I want it at Bay Ridge during November at latest.John Morrison

Sep 08, 2014
  • bookwormjeph rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

An in depth analysis of the state of the USA in 1960 and the differences in 2010. It focuses mostly on the breakdown of communities and society in general and the hollowing out of the middle class. There are likely similarities here in NZ as regard the gap between the rich and poor. The author is open about where he is coming from in regards to his personal politics- he is all for less government, no welfare system etc. He explains the foundation of the American society, how it was laid and the intentions of the founding fathers. He also states this is what makes the US unique and different from other people. This is delivered with a tinge of arrogance and a sense of superiority at times. Look beyond this though and he does lay out a fairly balanced book.

Oct 31, 2012
  • tsawwassen rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Charles Murray paints a very disturbing picture of a growing underclass in America which is brutally honest.

When you look at the mass media you see an actual glorification of this underclass everywhere that would have been unthinkable even twenty years ago.

Two TV shows come to mind.

Shameless (US version) and Sons of Anarchy.

Sons of Anarchy is nothing more than the glorification of a criminal biker gang that deals in drugs, extortion, and murder on an almost daily basis.

The moral universe here has been turned upside down because these criminals are portrayed as somehow noble and in the end they get away with their nefarious behaviour and are triumphant in it.

Can you seriously see this on TV in America at any other time in it's history.

On this dimension Murray is totally accurate.

One criticism of Murray however is that he sees America from the distorted prism of the Ivy League, specifically Harvard University.

In one section of the book he talks about visiting a box factory many years ago and being amazed at the complex machines and organization of the place.

He then goes on to say that he has never been in a factory or blue collar setting before or since.

His perception of the world is distorted from his ivy tower.

How does he think that food ends up on his table, and does he consider the vastly complex manufacturing and supply lines that give him every consumer good imaginable from his view over the commons of Harvard University.

Business Administration was clearly not his major.

Oct 26, 2012
  • delfon rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Oct 16, 2012

This is a book about white America? seriously! This is a whole book about an issue without a solution? So what is the point/

Oct 16, 2012
  • megaculpa rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A stark and disturbing picture of the growing class divide in the US -- between an affluent, educated elite and an increasingly dysfunctional and desperate underclass. While Murray's analysis of the problem is compelling, his libertarian politics don't allow him to suggest any meaningful solutions.

He shares this dilemma with the vast majority of his fellow Americans – rich and poor. As a nation, they prize individual freedom as a fundamental legacy of the pioneers and founding fathers. Their belief system continues to preclude the kind of social democracy and state intervention that has levelled the class playing field in western Europe. Murray acknowledges the European alternative, but dismisses it as mere statism – godless and corrosive of the human spirit.

Sep 26, 2012
  • danielestes rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Coming Apart shines an uncomfortable spotlight on the deep-rooted and often controversial problem of social class in 21st century America.

Contrasted here are two distinct lifestyles, the super-affluent and the impoverished under-class, and their differences are a lot more complicated than a simple widening of the income inequality gap. This disparity of social (and physical) separation is greater than ever. And note that the author specifically focuses on white Caucasians because the sample size from both groups is large enough for accurate statistical comparison.

The findings, illustrated through a series of charts and graphs, are disheartening, but should not be too surprising. Some would argue this is a result of not investing enough time and money into eradicating poverty, but I no longer believe that's the correct action. Fixing a problem like this will require something more—a fundamental shift in attitude and character of the citizenry. I'm not sure what this would look like or if it's even possible.

Jul 29, 2012
  • scathing_haiku rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Replete with cheeky quiz to see if you're a gritty, hard-working American, or a college-educated snob! Remember the Golden Age of the Fifties when everyone in America was a big happy family? That's my takeaway. This book is earnest its analysis, and he's taking the issues of class tension and social mobility seriously, but Murray can't help himself from prodding and oversimplifying in all the most tiring ways.

Apr 02, 2012
  • JoeClay rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Dr Murray offers an interesting look at the status of our society as it functions today. After having been vilified for being inclusive in the exploration of intelligence in his previous book, THE BELL CURVE, he limits himself to only one race in COMING APART.
It appears he has done an excellent job of identifying the failures that are becoming more prevalent in society and one only has to spend a few hours of watching 'reality' tv to realize how cogent this book is. I found his recommendations providing amazing insight and expertise on remedying what could be a dire future.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at CLEVNET