Books by Andrew Hacker

THE MATH MYTH by Andrew Hacker
Released: March 1, 2016

"Hacker's arguments may convince some anxious students and be welcomed by their parents, but the reaction from academics is sure to be mixed."
A lively argument against the assumption that if the United States is to stay competitive in a global economy, our students require advanced training in mathematics. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 3, 2010

"Plenty to ponder in this forceful, solid report on the shifting climate of American higher education."
New York Review of Books contributor and former university professor Hacker (Mismatch: The Growing Gulf Between Women and Men, 2003, etc.) and New York Times columnist Dreifus (Interview, 2003, etc.) present their combined "vision for higher education." Read full book review >
MONEY by Andrew Hacker
Released: June 17, 1997

Anecdotal audits of American assets and incomes that (like Wall Street's jest about economists laid end-to-end) never reaches a conclusion. Drawing on scores of secondary sources, Hacker (Political Science/Queens College; Two Nations, 1992, etc.) offers a hit-or- miss canvas of what well-paid, or at least well-regarded, US citizens make for working at various trades and their net worths. Inter alia, he provides selective data on the earning power of doctors, lawyers, and corporate chiefs, plus a host of other high- profile callings, including coaches of big-time college teams, film stars, school teachers, sports professionals, university professors. Conspicuous by their absence, however, are dentists, entrepreneurs (who, the author breezily asserts, can pay themselves anything they want), fashion models, songwriters, and tax collectors. Not too surprisingly, given the temper of the times, the top officers of publicly held enterprises are singled out for special, somewhat snide attention, in which the link of handsome pay packages to a company's success is breezily dismissed. Courtesy of Forbes magazine, the author also includes a briefing on what it takes to qualify for a list of the wealthiest Americans. Covered as well in no great depth are such hot topics as: the widening gap between the incomes of those on the upper and lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder; the persistent disparity between the earnings of blacks and whites, men and women, and immigrants and native- born; and the author's calculations of what constitutes a living wage. All but ignored, by contrast, are the influences of credit, non-monetary motivations, and supply/demand forces on income. An academic's discontinuous and vaguely discontented survey of the way the money goes in latter-day America. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1992

``Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white, separate and unequal,'' concluded the Kerner Commission on civil disorders in 1968. Relying heavily on demographic data, Hacker (Political Science/Queens College; ed., U/S, 1982; The New Yorkers, 1975, etc.) demonstrates the myriad ways in which the races remain at uneasy removes from each other. Although this great divide is amply documented here, Hacker's contention that white society bears the overwhelming responsibility for its continued existence may strike some as simplistic. It does not really answer Shelby Steele's The Content of Our Character or William Julius Wilson's economic explanations for the disparities between black and white. Hacker's strength lies in his use of data to provide surprising sidelights on oft-discussed topics, such as family, education, crime, and the economy; he notes, for instance, that the explosion in black illegitimacy rates merely mirrors that for society as a whole. When he forsakes his data and ventures into the murky realm of psychology, however, his conclusions are suspect (e.g., he implies that academic ``tracking'' is a form of segregation). Yet despite—sometimes even because of—these forays outside the traditional sphere of academic analysis, Hacker argues his points with cool elegance and conviction. In one instance, after his description of the humiliation that a black male feels after being bypassed by a white bus-driver, it seems pointless to dispute his belief that ``to be black is to be consigned to the margins of American life.'' Hacker's blurring of the distinctions between white ethnic groups and newer nonwhite immigrants is unfortunate, and his refusal to offer a way out of what Gunnar Myrdal called ``the American dilemma'' leaves the reader dispirited. But his insights into the racial wounds that refuse to close are searing, and urgently need to be addressed. Read full book review >