In the introduction to his book, Stein says that his purpose is "to talk honestly about race." He accomplishes that purpose in a fact-filled book that should be a revelation, especially to young people of any race, who have been fed a party line in schools and colleges across America.
He looks behind the highly sanitized picture of Al Sharpton, as a civil rights statesman with his own MSNBC program and his designation as a White House adviser, to the factual reality of a man with a trail of slime that has included inciting mobs, in some cases costing innocent lives.
Positive news also receives its due. Some readers of this book may be surprised to learn that the ban on racial preferences in the University of California system did not lead to a disappearance of blacks from the system, as the supporters of affirmative action claimed would happen.
On the contrary, more blacks graduated from the system after the ban -- for the very common sense reason that they were now admitted to University of California campuses where they qualified, rather than to places like UCLA and Berkeley, where they had often been admitted to fill a quota, and often failed.
Stein's book is also one of the few places where many young people will see the actual words of people like Bill Cosby, Shelby Steele, Pat Moynihan and others who have opposed the fashionable platitudes that confuse racial issues.
Whether those words convince all readers is not the point. The point, especially for young readers in our schools and colleges, is that this may be one of the few times they will ever encounter a fundamentally different set of views on race -- views that they have only heard referred to as coming from "Uncle Toms" or "racists."