OUR KIDS: THE AMERICAN DREAM IN CRISIS
A groundbreaking examination of the growing inequality gap from the bestselling author of Bowling Alone: why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility.
It’s the American dream: get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success. This is the America we believe in—a nation of opportunity, constrained only by ability and effort. But during the last twenty-five years we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. Americans have always believed in equality of opportunity, the idea that all kids, regardless of their family background, should have a decent chance to improve their lot in life. Now, this central tenet of the American dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was.
Our Kids is a rare combination of individual testimony and rigorous evidence. Putnam provides a disturbing account of the American dream that should initiate a deep examination of the future of our country. Professor Putnam’s new, best selling book, Our Kids, is available for sale online and in your local bookstores.
Robert Putnam—about whom The Economist said, “his scholarship is wide-ranging, his intelligence luminous, his tone modest, his prose unpretentious and frequently funny”—offers a personal but also authoritative look at this new American crisis. Putnam begins with his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio. By and large the vast majority of those students—“our kids”—went on to lives better than those of their parents. But their children and grandchildren have had harder lives amid diminishing prospects. Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, drawing on a formidable body of research done especially for this book.
“Highly readable…An insightful book that paints a disturbing picture of the collapse of the working class and the growth of an upper class that seems to be largely unaware of the other’s precarious existence.”
— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
ROBERT D. PUTNAM is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. To keep up with his events and travel, please continue to visit this website. In addition to teaching, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the British Academy, and past president of the American Political Science Association. He has received numerous scholarly honors, including the Skytte Prize, the most prestigious global award in political science, and the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest honor for contributions to the humanities. He has written fourteen books, translated into more than twenty languages, including Bowling Alone and Making Democracy Work, both among the most cited publications in the social sciences in the last half century. His 2010 book, co-authored with David E. Campbell, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, won the American Political Science Association’s 2011 Woodrow Wilson award as the best book in political science. He has consulted for the last three American presidents, the last three British prime ministers, the last French president, prime ministers from Ireland to Singapore, and hundreds of grassroots leaders and activists in many countries. His latest book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, on the growing class gap among American young people, was published in March 2015.