Putnam jacket1

Putnam argues that fundamental to the American Dream is the belief that our children will have better lives than we do, that Americans believe in equality of opportunity, limited only by one’s talent and hard work. But recent decades have left more Americans doubting this belief. In addition to illustrating newly researched national data, Putnam will tell this story through compelling coming-of-age stories of how growing up rich and poor has changed in all corners of America—in rural areas, the suburbs, and big cities—over the last several decades. Putnam even draws on his own story and those from his home town community in Port Clinton, Ohio, to demonstrate the crumbling American Dream.

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.

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.

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. – See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Our-Kids/Robert-D-Putnam/9781476769899…


OUR KIDS: The American Dream in Crisis
Simon & Schuster
Publication date: March 10, 2015
ISBN: 9781476769899
E-book ISBN: 9781476769912
Price: $28