This is the gritty story of one man's lifelong education in the school of hard knocks, as his journey took him from Harlem to the Marines, the Ivy League, and a career as a controversial writer, teacher, and economist in government and private industry. It is also the story of the dramatically changing times in which this personal odyssey took place. The vignettes of the people and places that made an impression on Thomas Sowell at various stages of his life range from the poor and the powerless to the mighty and the wealthy, from a home for homeless boys to the White House, as well as ranging across the United States and around the world. It also includes Sowell's startling discovery of his own origins during his teenage years. If the child is father to the man, this memoir shows the characteristics that have become familiar in the public figure known as Thomas Sowell already present in an obscure little boy born in poverty in the Jim Crow South during the Great Depression and growing up in Harlem. His marching to his own drummer, his disregard of what others say or think, even his battles with editors who attempt to change what he has written, are all there in childhood. More than a story of the life of Sowell himself, this is also a story of the people who gave him their help, their support, and their loyalty, as well as those who demonized him and knifed him in the back. It is a story not just of one life, but of life in general, with all its exhilaration and pain.read more
I have over the years read a number of articles Dr Sowell has written, but never one of his books. It has been one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. Dr Sowell definitely 'walks the talk'. The book is not only superbly written but gives a very personal insight into the person and his character. Not withstanding what he went through in his life, the author does not blame society for his shortcomings but rises above them. Dr Sowell has achieved his goals (which have been nothing short of amazing) not because of quotas but because he earned them. The narrative takes us from his birth to his present position as a senior fellow in the Hoover Institute. He places value on hard work, integrity and facts. I am looking forward to reading more of his books.read more
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A nationally recognized economist and scholar, Sowell recounts his long, steady climb from a hardscrabble North Carolina childhood to the top ranks of influential conservatives within the Republican Party in Washington. Sowell, who is African-American, racked up a series of notable accomplishments through sheer determination and a refusal to let his race prove an obstacle to a productive life. His grit and focus became evident during his early years as a rebellious schoolboy in Harlem, an unremarkable stint in the Marines, his later studies at Howard University and his frustrating time at Harvard. Of particular note is his unwavering approval of leading economist Milton Friedman, who taught Sowell at the University of Chicago. Known for his attention to detail and the nuance of his theoretical writings, Sowell doesn't consistently display those skills to advantage: he often seems to race through key periods in his life, leaving the reader to wonder what elements of significance have been left out. However, he pulls no punches in his conservative stance on the thorny issue of race, which has frequently put him in opposition with the African-American community, and demonstrates his steadfast belief in meritocracy. He earns points for his revelations about his personal disappointments, his painful divorce and his frustrations with an unkind media, dispelling a common belief that he was a close adviser of President Reagan. Offering only a controlled, muted look at the author's inner world, Sowell's account occasionally seems arrogant, but often reflective and always provocative. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved