I’d bookmarked an interesting Op-Ed piece by David Brooks a few days ago about the recently released book “Coming Apart” by Charles Murray (of The Bell Curve fame) because it contained an interesting discussion of the increasing income and behavioral disparity between the upper and lower income strata in America with regards to education, marriage, child-rearing, and so on. In his article, Brooks called for a “National Service Program” to force the intermingling of peoples from various backgrounds, and a prescription for overcoming this widening chasm. The book seemed interesting enough that I even bookmarked on Amazon, for when I finally finish Tina Fey’s Bossypants, the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, and Michael Hastings’ The Operators (whew!).
Color me confused, then, to read David Frum’s exhaustive 5-part (plus rebuttal and post-script!) review of the book, wherein I was presented with an entirely different impression of the book, as a blame-the-liberals screed with little actual discussion of the root causes of the growing inequality between classes or realistic prescriptions for bridging the gap. Having read Frum’s review, and taken Murray’s patronizing and stereotyping “bubble test” (available here), I think this one is going off the Amazon wish-list, since it doesn’t seem like it actually has much to say about this issue that is new or exciting. It’ll probably sell Murray a decent forest’s worth of books, but if he’s as contradictory and uninterested in root causes or solutions as Frum’s review makes him seem, I don’t think the book is worth my time or money.