Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis

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.

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.

Title:Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781476769899
Format Type:

    Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis Reviews

  • Jan Rice

    How could he idealize the 1950s? How could he say equality of opportunity has declined since then? For whom?Even if I hadn't been studying The Black Swan, even if I'd never read Thinking, Fast and Slo...

  • Thomas

    A saddening yet necessary examination of how the gap between the rich and the poor has expanded in the United States. Fans of Matthew Desmond's Evicted may enjoy this book, as Robert Putnam blends h...

  • Clif Hostetler

    The American dream of opportunity and upward mobility is fading fast, and it has happened during most of our lifetimes (since 1970). Most of us have heard the news about the trend toward increased dis...

  • Ian

    Yeah, what can you say about a book like this? Seems to be getting a near universal 4-star rating here, as it is well-written, meticulously researched, interesting, and exceedingly timely.That said, t...

  • Todd N

    Everything that you need to know about the lack of opportunity equality -- and therefore the lack of upward mobility -- in today's America can be summed up in one graph on page 190 of this book. It di...

  • Caren

    The widening gap between upper and lower income levels in the USA has been cause for a lot of research and discussion. Mr. Putnam's book considers one aspect of inequality: how if affects the opportun...

  • Esil

    Thank you to the Publisher and Netgalley for an opportunity to read Our Kids. I usually read fiction and mysteries with an occasional foray into history and memoirs so this was not within the scope of...

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Bryan Alexander hosted a readalong of this book on his blog, where there has been thoughtful ongoing discussion chapter by chapter. He also talked about the book on the 30th episode of the Reading Env...

  • Vance

    Robert Putnam provides another interesting read that hits on timely issues to tackle how the American Dream is in crisis. I read his book “Bowling Alone” years ago and it definitely influenced the...

  • Marks54

    This is a report of Putnam's latest study on inequality in education in America. Qualitative interview results for a selected set of respondents which is then supplemented by summaries of current resu...