This could have been an important book. Jencks and his colleagues have had the audacity to assemble and reanalyze a wide range of research on inequality, and have demonstrated a high level of technical skill in doing so. But the book misses the opportunity. To show how it comes to miss the opportunity, I must clarify at the outset certain points about inequalities in society. For it is the confusion between different meanings of inequality that leads Jencks and his colleagues to the fundamental difficulties of the book.

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