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The Source of the River:
The Social Origins of Freshmen at America's Selective Colleges and Universities
Douglas S. Massey, Camille Z. Charles, Garvey F. Lundy, & Mary J. Fischer

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"For examining the race difference in early college performance and achievement, The Source of the River is a very important book of well-designed and executed social science research. Massey and his colleagues are superb at presenting fresh evidence, and their analyses provide new insight into many of the established contributors to the relatively low early college performance and socialization of African American and Latino students compared to whites and Asian Americans attending the nation's elite colleges and universities. In addition to revealing the overwhelming and cumulative effect of cultural capital, The Source of the River is most effective in either refuting prevailing theories or challenging their generalizations about the race differences in student performance in American education generally and in colleges and universities in particular. The Source of the River should be very helpful to colleges and universities that are interested and actively engaged in pursuing higher performance and greater success for under-represented college students. It provides potent new content to include in the dialog and debate among students, faculty, parents, and policymakers about existing efforts for closing performance and achievement."--Michael T. Nettles, University of Michigan

"The American struggle over racial inequality is as much a struggle for understanding as it is a moral struggle. That understanding--in the area of higher education--has now been given a new foundation in this masterful book by Douglas Massey and his colleagues. Through a study of national scope, they have exposed many of the root causes of persistent racial inequalities in higher education. Like Bowen and Bok's Shape of the River, it is a landmark book that, in my hopes, will launch a new era of both understanding and remedy."--Claude Steele, Stanford University

"The Source of the River decodes the puzzle of minority underachievement via an authoritative and comprehensive examination of the social origins of black, white, Hispanic, and Asian freshmen admitted to selective colleges and universities. Massey, Charles, Lundy, and Fischer go beyond the conventional family background correlates of scholastic performance and demonstrate the profound and lasting impact of residential segregation on the life chances of black and Hispanic young people. Their argument and evidence is both compelling and convincing and will stand as a pillar on which future studies must build to understand the origins and persistence of educational stratification in the United States."--Marta Tienda, Princeton University

"This is a first-rate analytical study that takes full advantage of extensive empirical data describing the pre-college lives of a large panel of students who belong to different racial groups. To my knowledge, there is nothing else like it. Massey et al have begun to untangle the forces that shape the academic performance of students from various backgrounds and in this way to provide new insights than can guide more informed social policies."--William G. Bowen, President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, President Emeritus, Princeton University, coauthor of The Shape of The River and The Game of Life

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File created: 4/21/2017

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