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  • Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 BC to 1950
  • Alan Wolfe
Charles Murray , Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 BC to 1950 (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), 688 pp.

Human Accomplishment represents years of reading and calculation, all designed to prove that the West has dominated the process of creative endeavor since roughly 1400 and also to warn that this period of domination may be coming to an end. One can only wonder what the giants of human endeavor cataloged by Charles Murray would think of Murray's own endeavor. Perhaps some of the scientists would conclude that something as objective as human achievement can indeed be measured quantitatively in ways that would permit relatively definitive answers to controversial questions. More likely, however, is the conclusion that Murray's prodigious efforts only serve to illustrate why standing on the shoulders of giants does not make giants of us. Many scholars concluded that Murray's previous book, The Bell Curve, was prejudice dressed up as science. The same charge applies to this one, except in this case the prejudices are matters of taste rather than matters of race. That may be an improvement, but not by much.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4578
Print ISSN
0961-754X
Pages
p. 352
Launched on MUSE
2005-04-27
Open Access
No
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