Magazine February 6, 2012, Issue

The Virtue Deficit

From the cover of Coming Apart (Crown Forum)
Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010, by Charles Murray (Crown Forum, 416 pp., $27)

Charles Murray writes important and provocative books. His latest book, Coming Apart, joins Losing Ground (1984) and The Bell Curve (1994) as, in my view, among his most important and most fascinating. Given Murray’s longstanding status as a bête noire of the Left, the book can be expected to produce lots of controversy.

What does Murray think is coming apart? America, along class lines. His approach to persuading us that the class divide is a present danger is first to describe what he means by the “new lower class” and the “new upper class,” then to describe what he considers “the

Ron HaskinsMr. Haskins is a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution and a co-director of the Center on Children and Families.

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