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Publisher's Summary

A biography of Thomas Sowell, one of America's most influential conservative thinkers. 

Thomas Sowell is one of the great social theorists of our age. In a career spanning more than a half century, he has written over 30 books, covering topics from economic history and social inequality to political theory, race, and culture. His bold and unsentimental assaults on liberal orthodoxy have endeared him to many admirers but have also enraged fellow intellectuals, the civil-rights establishment, and much of the mainstream media. The result has been a lack of acknowledgment of his scholarship among critics who prioritize political correctness. In the first-ever biography of Sowell, Jason L. Riley gives this iconic thinker his due and responds to the detractors. Maverick showcases Sowell's most significant writings and traces the life events that shaped his ideas and resulted in a Black orphan from the Jim Crow South becoming one of our foremost public intellectuals.

©2021 Jason L. Riley (P)2021 Basic Books

Critic Reviews

“Fascinating.... Riley has achieved something rare in the field of intellectual biography­ - a recounting of a distinguished scholar’s life that draws on popular interest in Thomas Sowell the person and directs it to a lucid survey of Sowell’s volumi­nous intellectual output.” (National Review)

“Sowell’s vast and diverse intellectual output, devoured over the decades by a loyal readership, screamed for a biography a long time ago. Jason Riley delivers, in a pleasing style that arrives as a must-read for any fan of Thomas Sowell, what the public so wanted but inexplicably did not receive until now.” (American Spectator)

“Riley, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, has done an admirable job distilling Sowell’s 90 years, 30-odd books, and countless columns into a single volume. Maverick will delight Sowell’s biggest fans and help introduce new generations to the man and his work.” (Washington Free Beacon)

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  • Morgan Boyer
  • 29-05-21

Outstanding!!!!

I’ve been reading Sowell for years & he’s had a huge impact on me. So it was great to have such an in depth look into his life. I especially appreciated quoting his personal letters & how they show what he was thinking at that time.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 08-06-21

A Biography of Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell, who will be 91 years old later this month, is THE towering philosophical giant of our time. A trained economist with a PhD some of his books have strayed far from his field. But whatever Sowell writes about shows an almost unique clarity of thought and writing that are his trademark. I started reading Sowell with his newspaper columns 40 years ago. Even in the few cases that I disagreed with him I had to admit he had the better logic and facts. He is an American treasure that every thoughtful person should read and study.

With the loss of Sowell's friend Walter E Williams to death last year we lost another American treasure.

Author Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal editorial board has written this beautiful biography of Thomas Sowell. My only issue is I wish it were longer, much longer. Riley has also produced a film available for free. The film is better because it contains actual interviews of the great man, but the book goes into greater detail.

I decided several weeks ago to read or reread all of Thomas Sowell's works this year and while I'm making good progress breaking for books like this is worthwhile.

So we have here a book by one of America's best journalist about the greatest living American which is read by an outstanding actor and narrator. All three are black Americans.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Dana Buttone
  • 27-05-21

Great Read

Jason did a great job. Thomas Sowell is a national treasure. His writings should be mandatory in schools. I'm so glad I discovered his work!

9 people found this helpful

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  • tech investigator
  • 18-06-21

Thomas Sowell, a national treasure.

I'm really glad that Jason Riley gave Thomas Sowell his due. This man is truly brilliant and a "true" intellectual. I say true intellectual because he uses his masterful mind to draw logical and rational conclusions based on empirical facts and evidence combined with his astounding knowledge in various fields. Most others, and certainly his critics, are overwhelmingly outmatched when paired against his intellect. His critics can only use the pathetically tired and disgusting attacks that the left always uses when it can't compete with an intelligent counterpoint or argument.

If our so-called leaders had a fraction of his intellect and clarity on the subjects that plague our nation and dominate our news, we'd all be so much better off.

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  • Sandra
  • 05-08-21

Fantastic introduction to Thomas Sowell

I bought this biography to act as a starting point in reading Sowell’s works. I was not disappointed. I heard about Sowell, and was dying to read him. With so many published books, I didn’t know where to start. I’m glad I found Riley’s biography on the scholar. Now, I have foundation to start with.

PS Excellent narration voice by Brad Sanders

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-08-21

One of the Greatest Thinkers of Our Time

Jason Riley does a great job of compiling much information about and directly from Thomas Sowell, including from other thought leaders who share in the quest for expanding modern understandings of economy, history, race relations, sociology, psychology, and how these and other areas of study relate to and build upon each other. He is much more than just an economist, and this book makes sure that fact is well understood.

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  • RPM
  • 29-08-21

A great look at in influential thinkers life

I wanted to get a better understanding of Thomas Sowell and this book definately delivered .

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  • JML62
  • 23-08-21

Helpful and satisfying work on Sowell

This enjoyable biography not only sheds more insight on Sowell but also on the progression of his work. The reader will come away with a better understanding of all that he has accomplished and a better knowledge about how it all fits together. I’m finishing this biography with a much longer to-do reading list then I came into it with.

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  • GerryDempsey
  • 22-09-21

Left me wanting more!

And what I mean specifically is that I want to read more Thomas Sowell. Thank you for the brevity as well as the depth and the wisdom to know the right time to use one or the other.

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  • John
  • 21-09-21

A great mind

I love Thomas Sowell already but to hear another great mind confirm my believes is very rewarding! Close minded intolerant lefties will be the disgrace of our country for many centuries. For a long time Thomas was the lone candle shining light on their stupidity.

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  • Munday
  • 09-06-21

Excellent intellectual biography

This really is a very good, balanced, appraisal of Thomas Sowell’s main arguments, with enough about his life that you better understand how he came to his views.
An ideal introduction to his work.