Jonathan Rauch on Charles Murray's Coming Apart: The State of White America


Unless you live in a cave, you know the controversial work and reputation of Charles Murray. Losing Ground, published in 1984, proposed eliminating welfare as we knew it and became the template for conservative welfare reform. The Bell Curve (1994) proposed that America is sorting itself relentlessly by IQ, and that race is an intractable part of the picture. The unjustly neglected In Our Hands (2006) proposed cashing out most federal subsidies and programs and focusing on making government less intrusive rather than just less expensive. Like him or not, Murray has written many original books. Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, his latest, is not one of them, writes Jonathan Rauch. There is almost nothing original or new in it. And Rauch means that as a high compliment, because what is new is rarely true.