Archive for May, 2013

Charles Murray, Author of Coming Apart, Examines Demographic Shifts In This New Decade

Coming Apart TRRandom House is currently giving away free versions of Charles Murray’s Coming Apart (Crown Forum, January 2013), which has been adopted for Common Reading at Stonehill College, Georgetown University and Florida State University.  Additionally, it has recently been adopted by Western Washington State’s Politics of Inequality course.  Please email rhacademic@randomhouse.com to request a complimentary copy.  Coming Apart offers a thought-provoking commentary on class in contemporary America. Drawing on five decades of statistics and research, the book demonstrates that a new upper class, who live in hyper-wealthy zip codes called SuperZIPS, 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.  In the below essay, Murray discusses trends that have occurred since 2010.

I began the discussion of the SuperZips with a promise to update the results in later editions of Coming Apart when the 2010 census results became available.  Those results were published from December 2011 through the spring of 2012.  This is the story they tell: (more…)

May 14, 2013 at 9:52 pm Leave a comment

Napoleon’s Other Complex: Hidden History Uncovered in The Black Count

The Black Count

by Tom Reiss, author of The Black Count (Broadway, May 2013) which was recently awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in biography.

I’ve always loved exploring history. It’s like an uncharted hemisphere, and when you look at it closely, it has a tendency to change everything about your own time. I’m also drawn to outsiders, people who have swum against the tide. I often feel like a kind of detective hired to go find people who have been lost to history, and discover why they were lost. Whodunnit?

In this case, I found solid evidence that, of all people, Napoleon did it:  he buried the memory of this great man – Gen. Alexandre Dumas, the son of a black slave who led more than 50,000 men at the height of the French Revolution and then stood up to the megalomaniacal Corsican in the deserts of Egypt. (The “famous” Alexandre Dumas is the general’s son – the author of The Three Musketeers.) Letters and eyewitness accounts show that Napoleon came to hate Dumas not only for his stubborn defense of principle but for his swagger and stature  – over 6 feet tall and handsome as a matinee idol – and for the fact that he was a black man idolized by the white French army. (I found that Napoleon’s destruction of Dumas coincided with his destruction of one of the greatest accomplishments of the French Revolution – racial equality – a legacy he also did his best to bury.) (more…)

May 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

Fredrik Logevall’s Embers of War, Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in History, Chronicles US and French Intervention in Vietnam

Embers of War HCby Fredrik Logevall, author of Embers of War (Random House, August 2012), winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in history.

Embers of War studies the conflict that drew in all the world’s powers and saw two of them—first France, then the United States—attempt to subdue the revolutionary Vietnamese forces. For France, the defeat marked the effective end of her colonial empire, while for America the war left a gaping wound in the body politic that remains open to this day.  In the below essay, Logevall distills key points from his book. (more…)

May 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment


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