Divided We Stand

Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010. By Charles Murray; Crown Forum; New York; 2012; ISBN 978-0-307-45343-3; pp. 417; $17 (paperback).
  • Richard BalonEmail author
Column: Literary Resource

I shared the widespread enthusiasm for J. D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” last year, but the must-read book for Trump’s election and presidency remains Charles Murray’s astonishingly prescient “Coming Apart.” I wish the contemptible “students” who disrupted his lecture at Middlebury College earlier this year—none of whom I’ll bet had ever read a word of his—would read “Coming Apart” and then look in the mirror and realize: “Oh God, I’m a member of that loathsome coastal cognitive elite that is completely out of touch with middle America.”

— British historian and biographer Niall Ferguson, in response to the question “Which books do you think capture the current social and political moment in America?” [1]

As psychiatrists, we have been taught to think about our patients within the framework of the biopsychosocial model. The socialpart of this model should help us to understand how suffering, illness, disease, and personal reactions are affected by the social or societal level of...


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The author states that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Niall Ferguson: By the Book. New York Times Book Review, January 11, 2018. Available at Accessed 16 Jan 2019.

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© Academic Psychiatry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wayne State UniversityDetroitUSA

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