By "preferential policies" Sowell means government-mandated preferences and special considerations for legally designated groups, apart from the rest of society. Having written on race and affirmative action in American society he now turns to countries as diverse as India, Nigeria, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. There one finds similar preferences under such terms as "Africanization," "white supremacy" or "sons of the soil." Often the benefits of such programs, he concludes, disproportionately favor groups that are already more fortunate. Ethnic polarization ensues. This short book is an intelligent and provocative mix of politics, sociology and anthropology.