In 1982, Glenn C. Loury—who will turn 76 in September but still charmingly refers to himself as “aging”—became Harvard’s first tenured African-American professor of economics. He is a world-class economic theorist, a monumentally impressive public intellectual, and a now-faithful father of five—having overcome decades-long sex and drug addictions. In Late Admissions: Confessions of a Black Conservative, Loury looks back at his life and legacy, his tragedies and triumphs.

Loury prefaces this memoir with an emphatic promise to reveal things about himself that “no one would want anybody to think was true of them.” He delivers on that promise, inviting readers to “search out my contradictions and too-convenient narrative contrivances.”

I did, but full disclosure: although I have not seen him in person or spoken to him for a little more than two decades, I knew him personally. In the late 1980s through the early 2000s, we had several friends and acquaintances in common on Harvard’s faculty, among prominent conservative public intellectuals, and within Boston’s black Pentecostal clergy. We published with many of the same magazines and journals and debated each other in print. In 2001, I commissioned him to write the foreword to a Brookings Institution volume on religion in America that I co-edited with E.J. Dionne. That was my

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