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Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950

Wednesday October 2003


Charles Murray Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Charles Murray is one of the most penetrating—and controversial—social thinkers of the past 50 years. His seminal 1984 work, Losing Ground, redefined how Americans thought about welfare and helped to galvanize what later became the successful welfare reform movement.

In his latest work, Human Accomplishment, Murray again redefines how Americans think about culture and measure success. He utilizes a rigorous and original analytical system to rate the pinnacles of human accomplishment in the arts and sciences, beginning with Homer and ending with the dawn of the Pax Americana in 1950. By distinguishing the highest peaks of human genius, Murray draws our attention to the cultural and social pre-conditions for superlative individual effort. The result is a fascinating look at the past and a sobering assessment of the future.

Charles Murray is the W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and was a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute from 1981-1990. His other books include The Bell Curve and The Underclass Revisited.