The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Will Classified Prove to be "2022's Most Consequential American Book?"


Forgive me for bit of own-horn tooting, but it's not every day that someone as prominent and respected as George Will calls a relative obscure academic's work "potentially 2022's most consequential American book."

In other news about Classified, I was a guest on Michael Shermer's podcast. Shermer, as readers may know, is the long-time editor of Skeptic magazine, and I'm a long-time fan.

Glenn Reynolds interviewed me for his new Substack.

C-Span's Book TV is broadcasting a talk I gave at the Cato Institute, with distinguished commenters.

I was a guest on Larry Bernstein's (no relation) "What Happens in the Next Six Minutes" podcast. Unlike many podcasts, Larry edits his carefully for length and clarity.

I wrote a short piece for Brandeis University's alumni magazine summarizing the book's thesis.

Sheldon Richman wrote a nice review praising the book for "ripping away the veil of this horrendous and ridiculous system [of racial classification."]

Richard Epstein, writing for the Claremont Review of Books (paywall), notes Classified's "basic and incontrovertible point is that the standard five-fold classification of white, black, Hispanic, Asian, or American Indians (Native Americans) is utterly useless for deciding who should get preferences in education, business, or anywhere else given a large, heterogeneous population that must be sorted into distinct, but internally disjointed groups."

And finally, Tal Fortgang in Commentary (paywall): "Though it promises an 'untold story' of racial classification in America, Bernstein's Classified delivers something much more valuable: a series of simple questions under whose scrutiny race-based classifications in American law collapse. By the end of the book, which is neither long nor densely packed with legal analysis, the notion that contemporary racial classifications have any logic, consistency, or semblance of fairness has been rendered laughable."