View all Articles
Commentary By Hannah E. Meyers

What Our Elites Get Wrong about Class

Education, Economics Higher Ed, Culture & Society

Troubled: A Memoir of Foster Care, Family, and Social Class, by Rob Henderson (Gallery Books, 336 pp., $28.99)

Frederick Douglass described in his famous memoir how, when his master discovered his wife teaching their young slave Frederick to read, he chided her: “If you teach him how to read, he’ll want to know how to write, and this accomplished, he’ll be running away with himself.” This realization — that reading helps you escape — motivated Douglass to secretly learn. And it was the critical first step in his development into a renowned writer and orator, annunciating with firsthand clarity the evils of life as a slave.

Rob Henderson’s powerful new memoir, Troubled, echoes this theme and experience, chronicling his childhood as a neglected foster kid. As with Douglass, Henderson’s deep literacy and learning, combined with a straightforward and thoughtful writing voice, allow him to translate the experiences of a dangerously underprivileged youth as few who endure privation as children are able to do. And these adversities and skills forged Henderson into a keen social critic and advocate for the supreme value of stable, loving families.

Continue reading the entire piece here at the National Review (paywall)


Hannah Meyers is director of the policing and public safety initiative at the Manhattan Institute.

Photo by Drazen Zigic/Getty Images