Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010

Front Cover
Crown Forum, 2012 - Social Science - 407 pages
13 Reviews
From the bestselling author of Losing Ground and The Bell Curve, this startling long-lens view shows how America is coming apart at the seams that historically have joined our classes.

In Coming Apart, Charles Murray explores the formation of American classes that are different in kind from anything we have ever known, focusing on whites as a way of driving home the fact that the trends he describes do not break along lines of race or ethnicity.

Drawing on five decades of statistics and research, Coming Apart demonstrates that a new upper class and a new lower class have diverged so far in core behaviors and values that they barely recognize their underlying American kinship—divergence that has nothing to do with income inequality and that has grown during good economic times and bad.

The top and bottom of white America increasingly live in different cultures, Murray argues, with the powerful upper class living in enclaves surrounded by their own kind, ignorant about life in mainstream America, and the lower class suffering from erosions of family and community life that strike at the heart of the pursuit of happiness. That divergence puts the success of the American project at risk.

The evidence in Coming Apart is about white America. Its message is about all of America.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dcunning11235 - LibraryThing

This was an interesting book for the point of view, which I do not wholly agree with. Then again, that is one reason I picked it up. Murray has a steep hill to climb, and I do not think he is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hadden - LibraryThing

Excellent book reviewing the state of white America, comparing the difference between 1962 and 2007. By examining the economic and social differences between two towns, one the lowest percentile, the ... Read full review


November Z1 I963
The Bright Side of the New Upper C1858
I5 The Founding Virtues and the Stuff of Life
One Nation Divisible
Alternative Futures
Supplemental Material for the Segregation Chapter
Supplemental Material for the Chapter on Belmont
Supplemental Material for the Marriage Chapter
Supplemental Material for the American Community
The Founding Virtues

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

CHARLES MURRAY is the W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He first came to national attention in 1984 with Losing Ground. His subsequent books include In Pursuit, The Bell Curve (with Richard J. Herrnstein), What It Means to Be a Libertarian, Human Accomplishment, In Our Hands, and Real Education. He received a bachelor's degree in history from Harvard and a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He lives with his wife in Burkittsville, Maryland.

Bibliographic information