Book Corner 2022.27

by Thomas Sowell

He comes across as a really belligerent person. On one page, he’ s in a shouting match with a VP in his organization, and on the next, he is referring to a copy editor’s “idiotic questions.”

I also thought it was weird he never once mentioned the name of his first wife; married 9 years and mother of his two children. She’s just “my wife.” Also, I didn’t bookmark it, but I was floored in a passing remark he makes about this wife “insisting” on resuming her career after the children were born. The nerve.

So how was it as a memoir? In the preface, he promises that he will not try to “tell an exhaustive story.” But I did feel at the beginning that we were getting every little nook and cranny of remembrance he could come up with, which often felt like paths that led nowhere. I picked up this book because I thought it would be interesting to read about the life and intellectual development of a Black conservative thinker. Sowell started out as a Marxist. How did his thinking evolve? How did he come to be at odds with with Marxism and with the other Black “leaders” (he always puts that in quotes) of his time? There wasn’t much narrative arc to answer that question. The book read more like an overgrown curriculum vitae.

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