Late Admissions: Confessions of a Black Conservative (Hardcover)

Late Admissions: Confessions of a Black Conservative By Glenn Loury Cover Image

Late Admissions: Confessions of a Black Conservative (Hardcover)

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A shockingly frank memoir from a prize-winning economist, reflecting on his remarkable personal odyssey and his changing positions on identity, race, and belief.


Economist Glenn C. Loury is one of the most prominent public intellectuals of our time: he’s often radically opposed to the political mainstream, and delights in upending what’s expected of a Black public figure. But more so than the arguments themselves—on affirmative action, institutional racism, Trumpism—his public life has been characterized by fearlessness and a willingness to recalibrate strongly held and forcefully argued beliefs.


Loury grew up on the south side of Chicago, earned a PhD in MIT’s economics program, and became the first Black tenured professor of economics at Harvard at the age of thirty-three. He has been, at turns, a young father, a drug addict, an adulterer, a psychiatric patient, a born-again Christian, a lapsed born-again Christian, a Black Reaganite who has swung from the right to the left and back again. In Late Admissions, Loury examines what it means to chart a sense of self over the course of a tempestuous, but well-considered, life.



Glenn C. Loury, a prominent social critic, is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and professor of economics at Brown University, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393881349
ISBN-10: 0393881342
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: May 14th, 2024
Pages: 448
Language: English
There is a sweetness and vulnerability to Mr. Loury’s search for catharsis-by-confession. He is a highly intelligent man, utterly flawed and irresistibly likable. If we judge him, it’s because he beckons us to do so, a wayward moth offering himself up to a public flame. Our verdict cannot be damning. For all his moral defects, we find ourselves admiring him for his intellectual valor and the pugnacity of his convictions.
— Tunku Varadarajan - Wall Street Journal

So, does Loury’s delicate gambit—his attempt to garner sympathy while revealing some of his worst behavior—work? For this reader, the answer is unequivocally yes. Late Admissions is a zestfully written book, packed with humor, pathos and hard-earned wisdom.

— John McMillan - Washington Post

Unlike any economist’s memoir I have ever read.... Being in the thick of America’s culture wars, as a Black intellectual on the political right, has yielded a vivid bounty.
— Dwight Garner - New York Times

Wonderful.... [A] beautifully written memoir that contains important American history as well as moral lessons about facing your faults. It’s a great read—and not just for conservatives.
— Mark Judge - Washington Examiner

Captivating.... There is an engrossing detail or unique spin on every page.... Glenn Loury has examined his remarkable life in detail for our benefit.
— Cory Franklin - spiked

It takes considerable character to write a book like Late Admissions. In this utterly frank autobiography Glenn Loury is a fallen narrator mustering the courage to face the worst in himself. He keeps letting himself down, then scrambling for redemption. Will this black genius—sneaking hits from a crack pipe as he drives to teach a class at Harvard—ever prevail over his demons? Does his race, with all the high expectations new freedom imposes, simply become another kind of burden? In exploring these questions, Late Admissions literally documents America’s racial history from the ’60s to the present.

— Shelby Steele, author of White Guilt: How Blacks and White Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era

Breathtakingly good, and extraordinarily candid. Loury is perhaps the best writer of nonfiction in America, but Late Admissions advances well beyond that. Its self-reflexive, ‘house of mirrors’ structure reminds me of Amor Towles’ prizewinning fiction. Even more deeply, the book has forced me to interrogate my own reactions to it.

— Robert D. Putnam, New York Times best-selling author of Bowling Alone

This is not a book about politics. It is a gripping bildungsroman of a conservative black American as he makes his way from obscurity to prominence—and the toll that journey took on himself and those around him. Glenn Loury has written a raw portrait of achievement and irresponsibility, vulnerability and self-deception. His courage and devotion to truth-telling are humbling.
— Mark Lilla, author of The Once and Future Liberal

Glenn Loury has long been the most formidable of recent black conservative intellectuals—the most thoughtful, eloquent, learned, impassioned. With Late Admissions he shows himself remarkably willing to engage in candid self-revelation. His memoir offers a unique peek into the psyche of a distinguished scholar who came close to destroying himself but ultimately found inspiring self-acceptance.

— Randall Kennedy, author of Say It Loud! On Race, History, and Culture

Glenn Loury is quite simply one of the sharpest, most original minds in the country. His life traces an unbelievable trajectory—from teenage parenthood and community college to the uppermost echelons of academia and public thinking, with pit stops at substance abuse and evangelical Christianity—that has left him with a hard-won wisdom that is at once all-American and wholly sui generis. Plus he’s wickedly funny. Loury is a national treasure, and Late Admissions will challenge, provoke, and dazzle you.

— Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of Self-Portrait in Black and White

This book is a revelation in more ways than one. It reveals secrets, often unflattering ones, to persuade the skeptical reader that more flattering claims are credible. It reveals the beautiful cultural richness of a segregated community in Chicago that is often stereotyped and maligned. It reveals a remarkable path from community college to the highest reaches of academia by a nineteen-year-old father of two. And it reveals the striking originality and curiosity that has defined an undulating career with lurches in ideological positioning, but a consistency of thought and an absolute commitment to rigor. Most of all, this deeply American story is revealing of America.
— Rajiv Sethi, Professor of Economics, Barnard College