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Extended Audio Sample Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 Audiobook, by Charles Murray Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,005 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charles Murray Narrator: Traber Burns Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2012 ISBN: 9781470807429
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Includes a bonus disc with graphs, charts, and more

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 have historically 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—a 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. This 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I’ll be shocked if there’s another book this year as important as Charles Murray’s Coming Apart.”

    New York Times

  • “Mr. Murray turns on its head the conservative belief that bicoastal elites are dissolute and ordinary Americans are virtuous…[His] sobering portrait is of a nation where millions of people are losing touch with the founding virtues that have long lent American lives purpose, direction, and happiness.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A timely investigation into a worsening class divide no one can afford to ignore.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[A] searing sociological study.”

    Businessweek

  • “[Charles Murray] argues for the need to focus on what has made the US exceptional beyond its wealth and military power…religion, marriage, industriousness, and morality.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “This is an immensely important and utterly gripping book…Coming Apart is a model of rigorous sociological inquiry, yet it is also highly readable. After the chronic incoherence of Occupy Wall Street, it comes as a blessed relief. Every American should read it. Too bad only the cognitive elite will.”

    Niall Ferguson, professor of history at Harvard and fellow of the Hoover Institution

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2012 Booklist Editors’ Choice
  • Named one of the New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2012
  • A Federalist Notable Book of 2015

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brett Hinton | 2/20/2014

    " The book was okay. Some of the technical explanations were a little much for me about how he made some of the trend predictions that he shares in the book. This book will probably be compelling for someone who believes in his concept of the four "foundational" virtues of our nation that he identifies and significantly less so for someone on the other side of the aisle politically. I found the discussion valuable and, at the very least, consider the discussion about how the degradation of these foundational values might affect behaviors and attitudes in the data he shares. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aimee | 2/5/2014

    " This is a very well researched, really important book that takes a close, critical look at the cultural and demographic trends that have changed our society dramatically over the last 40 years, with some disturbing implications. Has stayed very much on my mind since I finished it a few months ago. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bethany | 1/9/2014

    " Great book if you're interested in social class! Although it mostly dives deep into the upper class status, it is really interesting! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave | 1/9/2014

    " Tedious and cranky - makes a few interesting observations and than data-whips them into stunned submission. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel Bayles | 1/9/2014

    " Probably the most important book I've read. Shocking and depressing, but the author makes a thorough and compelling argument. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Max Korenvaes | 12/13/2013

    " Really interesting demographic and sociological study "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John Stein | 12/4/2013

    " Good data, and social observations. His proposed solutions are pretty lame though "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Josh Doty | 11/19/2013

    " A fine description of the widening class divide, and he's right that it's a divide that many readers of the book are aware of on only an intellectual level. The book fails in its dubious prescriptions for alleviating that divide. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Dupee | 9/1/2013

    " His grasp of statistics seems farcical at times, but he is trying to address an important issue. His conclusions are intriguing, though his faith in humanity is likely misplaced. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 10/27/2012

    " Coming Apart is an excellent follow-up read to "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics & Religion". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Drtaxsacto | 10/6/2012

    " Murray is always interesting - this is a book about the destruction of one part of the American fabric. It is well researched and challenging. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie Knapp | 9/19/2012

    " rating the book, not my agreement with the argument "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Neil Fitzgerald | 8/7/2012

    " A shocking anthropological study. Thoroughly researched and well written. My only concern is his stance on Libertarianism. Should he be chastising governmental interference in America when he is part of the white elite? Home boy went to Harvard, get real. "

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About the Author
Author Charles Murray

Charles Murray is the W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He came to national attention first in 1984 with Losing Ground and most recently in 2012 with Coming Apart. He lives with his wife in Burkittsville, Maryland.

About the Narrator

Traber Burns worked for thirty-five years in regional theater, including the New York, Oregon, and Alabama Shakespeare festivals. He also spent five years in Los Angeles appearing in many television productions and commercials, including Lost, Close to Home, Without a Trace, Boston Legal, Grey’s Anatomy, Cold Case, Gilmore Girls, and others.