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Black Rednecks & White Liberals

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  918 ratings  ·  95 reviews
This explosive new book challenges many of the long-prevailing assumptions about blacks, about Jews, about Germans, about slavery, and about education. Plainly written, powerfully reasoned, and backed with a startling array of documented facts, Black Rednecks and White Liberals takes on not only the trendy intellectuals of our times but also such historic interpreters of A ...more
Paperback, 372 pages
Published April 24th 2006 by Encounter Books (first published April 30th 2005)
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Vannessagrace Vannessagrace

It’s not often that a reader opens a work of non-fiction and the words written on the first page has such an impact that it smacks the reader so hard the reader has to rub his/her cheek to soothe the blow.

This is the impact I felt with Black Rednecks and White Liberals. The first page drew me in and made it a challenge not to call work and say I wouldn’t be in because I didn’t want to put the book down.

What I liked about Black Rednecks and White Liberals is that it reinforced what I already knew

Fantastic approach to race and discrimination. I enjoyed his research about the roots of "redneck culture" originating in Scotland and other fringe areas of the Brittish Empire.

I thought the views on "middle-men minorities" and "segregated schools" were especially insightful. He approaches every topic with a balanced yet incisive perspective.

For example, he forgives Washington's slave ownership. He reminds us that men of fortune during the colonial period viewed their family fortunes as someth
Void lon iXaarii
I tend to follow experts in their fields... which often doesn't translate to other fields, as many people successful in one field turn out to be not that knowledgeable or skilled in another. Thomas Sowell is, for me, one of the few exceptions i know of. I Started reading his books because of his economics knowledge but i can so relate to his way of viewing the world that I can't stop following his books even when they're not directly in the field. Why? Because unlike many others he doesn't take ...more
Петър Стойков
Образът на типичния американски чернокож е добре познат на всички от телевизията и киното (а на американците е добре познат от улиците). Характерният диалектен говор, предизвикателното държание, обилната бижутерия и изобщо крещящ кич в облеклото и поведението…

Всичко това е характерно само за определен тип хора – по-голямата част от бедните чернокожи, живеещи в градските гета – но въпреки това, в последните десетилетния именно то се представя като “автентичната черна култура” на САЩ, произлизаща
Don Fox
Wow, what an achievement. Though a more accurate title might have been "Essays in Ethnology", "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" consists of six amazing essays, which collectively constitute the best book I've ever read. Every page presents startling, important, and little known facts that are apparently little known because they contradict the prevailing narrative about race and ethnicity. Did you know, for example, that:

* "...labor force participation rates were higher among non-whites than a
Adam was telling me about this book, and about the amazing man that is Thomas Sowell. Read his bio -- he's led a very interesting life. It's interesting that many of the "undesirable" qualities of the South, e.g. working to feed the family when needed, rather than having a steady work ethic and income, may have come from original settlers from wilder areas like Ulstead County, Ireland, and Wales, and Northern Scotland, where many of my ancestors are from! (Back in the 17th-18th centuries, they w ...more
Steven Percifield
A few years after reading "A conflict of Visions" by Sowell a friend of mine (who is African-American) recommended this book to me. We had been debating our individual impressions of racial relationships between black and white friends. I had made the comment that there were "archetypal motiffs" common to persons on both sides of the color line.

Although my friend agreed with me "...on average," he suggested that I read this book as it would give me a new perspective of a black intellectual's opi
Kevin Heldt
Okay, this guy is a stud. I love the rare academic who will actually shoot straight with you. This was a collection of 6 refreshingly incisive essays that systematically debunked many of the pet beliefs and agendas of today's intelligentsia.
Thomas Sowell's provocatively-titled Black Rednecks and White Liberals casts a critical eye toward conventional understandings of race, class, and history, collecting a half-dozen extensive essays in one volume. Although each essay is written as a standalone piece, some concern common subjects and refer to one another. Sowell principally writes on African-Americans and Jews here, aside from an apologia written on Germany. His central argument essentially blames the welfare state for the continui ...more
I would've made this book a five star, but found that some of the opening essays regarding crackers and the history of northern England dragged a bit.
What picked up this books for me where the essays on the history of African-American education in the United States, the history of middle man racism (racism against those who play a middle-man role in society) and the history of Germany and the impacts of Nazism of people's attitudes towards the German people.
Picking one of these in particular, mi
Tammy McNiel
WOW! This book was a complete eye-opener and changed how I viewed the history of slavery and blacks in America. As a white person, I'm shocked, appalled and relieved at the same time.

What my intuition told me was wrong about massive social programs was vocalized and backed up by facts for me with this book. A lot of what I thought about slavery and oppression was turned on its head. I was appalled that I was never taught ANY of this in school, and I have extensive college education. What I real
Frederick Glaysher
Thomas Sowell. Black Rednecks. White Liberals. MCRI[return]November 28th, 2006[return][return]Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Encounter Books, 2005.[return][return]Black RednecksThe approval by voters of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative corroborates Thomas Sowell’s observation in his Preface to the book, referring to “a growing willingness to consider views that differ from the racial orthodoxy that has prevailed largely unchallenged from the 1960s onward in intellectual ci ...more
Imagine the rabbit-duck image. In the simple ambiguity of that outline you see a rabbit, and you declare this interpretation of that shape as most intuitive. (Perhaps you had a pet rabbit, received a plush one as an early birthday gift, or are a fan of Watership Down. Perhaps this personal context predisposed you to a particular way of seeing.)

Now someone begins to add detail to the image—they shape a nostril into the ear, shade feathers where you see want to see fur—until the image becomes nons
David Robins
Another excellent collection of essays. Eye-opening as usual - the title essay is especially enlightening: much of black culture that is negative actually comes from Southern whites which in turn came from border regions of England and Scotland: those areas have since improved their education, speech, manners, and so on, but the detrimental parts of their culture survives among poor blacks. Calling an interest in education "acting white" is an insult to the many black educational pioneers that w ...more
An attention-grabbing title, but this book is much more. A broader world-history perspective on western civilization and why we should celebrate it, rather than feel guilty for historic injustices against particular ethnic groups. Great dialogue about Jews, Chinese, Koreans and other thrifty middle-man minorities throughout the world who have contributed greatly to the western world economy. Also an excellent look at the history of quality education, the ethnic groups that value it, and it's aff ...more
Sheryl Tribble
Read the first two essays in this years ago, when I got it as a library book, and they blew my mind. Booker T. Washington was one of my childhood heroes, and I've read a bit of W.E.B. Du Bois, and a fair bit of general history, so a lot of the first essay was familiar to me, but at the same time Sowell pointed out parallels and made logical connections I'd never thought of or considered.

Same with the second essay -- lot of history I already knew, with logical connections and parallels I didn't.
Jeffrey Tome
A "must read" to provide context to the world we live in.

So many questions have been answered in this book. I have struggled making sense of why people do what they do when it clearly will cause them social and economic pain. If people respond to incentive, what incentive is there in this? Thomas Sowell provides references and builds logically to provide a case of human factors that transcends race, and shows how popular society bends visions to their own benefit at the expense of others, as it
Tim Collins
I was pleasantly surprised. While I can't say that I agree with all of Sowell's conclusions, I can say that he certainly gave me a lot to think about.

This book is recommended to anyone that is willing to listen to an unconventional viewpoint on race in the US, the history of slavery, culture, or education. How "unconventional" might he be in this treatise? I'd guess that the polar extremes politically would hate it (because they disagree with it).

Needless to say, I learned a bit from this book a
I listened to Sowell’s book, “Black Rednecks and White Liberals”, as an audio-book, which sometimes had its disadvantages. Little visual aids like paragraph breaks, section titles, or new chapters in a print book make things much clearer, and you can miss those aids in audiobooks.
So I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed this book much more if I understood that the book was a selection of non-related essays. Instead, I was initially trying to understand the tie-in between one “chapter” and the ne
The three star rating surprised me. On first opening this book I would have guessed a solid four stars. But while Sowell easily demolishes many left-wing truisms on race and culture in America, the closer he approaches to constructive suggestions or prescriptive implications, the more deficient his reasoning proves.

In the first (eponymous) essay, Sowell takes on the notion that the modern development of "ghetto" culture among blacks is somehow "true" black culture, and that even the violence an
This can be a good conversation starter, but it has flaws.

The biggest disappointment is a lack of evidence-based recommendations for what will work here and now. Sowell makes a really big deal about evidence, so that is a fair expectation. He praises KIPP schools, but KIPP so far has failed in the long-term despite impressive isolated short-term results. He doesn't talk at all about the experience of the schools in Raleigh, North Carolina, which as far as I know is the one example of an entire
Jonathan Lu
Yes I had to pick this one up just based on the title, and Thomas Sowell did not disappoint. First chapters delve into an analysis of racism, theorizing that the origins of prejudice were really rooted in regional differences, as first noted by Alexis de Tocqueville in his famed work �Democracy in America�. A classic North vs. South, with differences as characterized by laziness, debauchery, frequency of weddings in which the bride was already pregnant, and woman�s age at marriage (17 vs. 23). B ...more
The book is not as provocative as its title might suggest (but hey, even Sowell has to make a living, right?). It is a carefully researched, empirical approach to a number of controversial issues involving race, ethnicity, religion, and such ordinarily taboo topics. In many cases, while Sowell may have a particular group or situation in mind, thanks to his wide-ranging research, his conclusions often have more universal application. The section on education is a particularly good example in this ...more
I can say I found this book of 200+ pages long to read, but I mean this in a good way. The book was filled with so many facts that I found myself reading a chapter and then jumping on the internet to do further research. I love books that challenge your current thinking. Some of the things Dr. Sowell laid out are not clear cut, but there were many others where as they say.. "hit the nail on the head".

Dr. Sowell comes out swinging with haymakers and bombs as he unleashes on the subject of African
Thomas Sowell is one of the best conservative authors that I have read. This was the first book by him that I read which is a collection of six essays dealing with various subjects such as slavery, race relations in the United States, and education. Given the fact that he is a black man, Sowell is able to speak more openly and frankly about race relations than white people are allowed, making his essays refreshingly non-politically correct and pro-Western Civilization.

Black Rednecks and White Li
Fred R
An excellent book. He often makes points that, with less intelligence or support, I had been groping my way towards. Occasionally he dips into the bad Thomas of his political columns, where he seems more concerned about making meaningless partisan points than anything else. Moreover, some of the essays are more concerned about attacking certain popular misconceptions than really advancing our understanding. I can't particularly fault him for this, given how prevalent these misconceptions are, bu ...more
Great book about selective use of history by liberals, especially in academia, in their view of minorities. It helps us understand why the ghetto culture exists in America today, why black Americans are often born into difficult situations, and gives us a starting point to find solutions for this problem. It also helped me to understand that the problems encountered by black Americans today are largely not a result of any kind of "legacy of slavery." In college I had been taught, and wrongfully ...more
Interesting study of the culture and economics of black americans as compared to blacks in Europe and Africa. After the Civil War many black men who had escaped to the north came back to look for their families. Sowell contrast this to the culture today in which over 70% of black children grow up in a fatherless home. Sowell also traces 'ghetto' culture back to the Kelts of Northern Europe who were primarily the slave owners of the south. There is also a part about the work of the Puritans afte ...more
Jeffrey Sweet
There's a lot of original and persuasive material in here. Sowell seems to be most interested in re-framing racial issues, particularly with his emphasis on his theory that so-called black culture is really derived from some aspects of white culture from the fringes of Britain. He makes a compelling case. But he doesn't really offer much useful about what to DO with this information. He has a wan passage or two about keeping history in the past and moving forward, but, given the fact that the in ...more
Skylar Burris
Jan 04, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who thinks liberal policies help minorities in the long run
I admire Sowell's ability to look at the facts and to follow them where they lead; to recognize that agendas need to be discarded in order to examine the evidence and to behold the entire, complex picture. I admire his ability to let go of emotional, gut reactions to topics and examine them through a purely logical lens. He takes a penetrating, intellectual look at issues people often discuss in sweeping moral and emotional terms: slavery, affirmative action, culture, conquest, education, and mo ...more
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Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He often writes from an economically laissez-faire perspective. He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholars ...more
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“It takes no more research than a trip to almost any public library or college to show the incredibly lopsided coverage of slavery in the United States or in the Western Hemisphere, as compared to the meager writings on even larger number of Africans enslaved in the Islamic countries of the Middle East and North Africa, not to mention the vast numbers of Europeans also enslaved in centuries past in the Islamic world and within Europe itself. At least a million Europeans were enslaved by North African pirates alone from 1500 to 1800, and some Europeans slaves were still being sold on the auction blocks in the Egypt, years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed blacks in the United States.” 3 likes
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