Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Book Review - Uncle Sam's Plantation by Star Parker

From the title alone, you could surmise that this book has some incendiary ideas and opinions, and you would be right. Uncle Sam's Plantation is a no-nonsense, very conservative look at poverty in America and how the government has responded and is currently responding. The author, Star Parker, pulls no punches in dissecting the welfare system, the reasons for poverty, and how much of the government's actions designed to help the poor are actually hurting them. She tackles issues such as minimum wage, abortion, welfare, and education. Phew! While Parker comes down hard on politicians who don't use common sense, and on those people who work the welfare system because they don't want to get jobs (especially men who mooch off women), her tone changes when she speaks of the poor who need help. She is compassionate and concerned. And she has a great deal of common sense and economic smarts that make her ideas seem doable. Parker talks a lot about personal responsibility, which is a refreshing topic in an age where victim mentality reigns. She has faith that, given the proper tools (including education, religious training and the knowledge of right, wrong and consequences) most people will become decent, productive people.

Star Parker is a black woman who worked her way off welfare after being challenged to do so by her pastor. As a young girl, she was told that she couldn't do certain things (have a good job, make money, etc) because the whites would always keep her down. She proved the naysayers (including her former self) wrong. She is an American success story, and now she is a spokesperson for issues of race and poverty. Her story is inspiring.

I enjoyed the first half of the book most. The chapters where she delves into the history of America (in regards to race and poverty) are fascinating. I would use those parts of the book to round out a course in American History for high schoolers. Eventually, though, when I had read past Parker's personal story, the historical accounts, and the parts where she talks about the different kinds of "poor," reading the book felt like listening to a LOT of conservative talk radio: you know they're right on a lot of stuff, but there's only so long you can listen. I was relived to find myself at the end of the book.

Also, it seemed like Parker spent all her time laying out the problems facing America, and no time offering solutions. Maybe the solution lies in getting her message out to many people? But it seems to me that giving specific actions that everyday people can do to help the poor, to fight Big Government, to make our voices heard on issues of abortion, education, etc, would have strengthened the book a good deal.

There was also the weird part where she repeated, word for word, two and a half pages of text a few chapters later. Was that intentional? :)

Overall, this was a good but exhausting read. I think I would have liked it better if it were shorter. But maybe that's because, as a mother of three small children, I hear a good deal of fussing as it is. Even when the fussing is completely legitimate, it does where on you after a while. Parker's personal story, and the history sections make it worthwhile though. For those sections, I will keep this book around.

Note: Booksneeze has provided me with a complementary copy of this book in exchange for a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is it "wheres" or "wears"???