cover image The Family Stalker

The Family Stalker

Jon Katz. Doubleday Books, $18.95 (312pp) ISBN 978-0-385-46903-6

As can be expected in a study charging that multiculturalism, feminism, Afrocentrism, etc.--``retrograde tribalism''--are dumbing America, Henry provides fodder to offend virtually every reader, even on occasion those who would ally themselves with elitism. He presents self-evident arguments on the value of accomplishment and veers with such ad hominems as, ``It is scarcely the same thing to put a man on the moon as to put a bone in your nose.'' Concerned that he will be dismissed as reactionary, the late Henry, Pulitzer Prize-winning culture critic for Time , establishes that he is a liberal Democratic before firing. ``Anti-assimilationists,'' he says, claim to be equal to elites but refuse to play by the same rules, which they demand be changed to their advantage; we too readily validate black failure as the collective fault of society and indulge Hispanic racial isolation by disregarding linguistic standardization. The underclass, Henry contends, ``is the underclass primarily because it is culturally imprinted with the failings of the underclass.'' His advice to the disadvantaged? Embrace better values, including self-reliance. (Sept.)