A New York Times Editor’s Choice
A New York Times Bestseller
A Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015 for Nonfiction
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.
“The irony of the book is contained in its title: The love for ‘our kids’ is driving the destruction of the collective possibilities of other people’s kids…Incredibly useful, essential reading.”
“A truly masterful volume that should shock Americans into confronting what has happened to their society.”
Financial Times (London)
“Putnam brings his talent for launching a high-level discussion to a timely topic…No one can finish Our Kids and feel complacent about equal opportunity.”
New York Times Book Review
“An eye-opener. When serious political candidates maintain that there are no classes in America, Putnam shows us the reality—and it is anything but reassuring.”
Washington Post Book World
“It’s quite a feat that Arthur Morey can narrate this somber overview of the declining American dream with the gravitas it demands without overdoing it. Along with sensitivity to the book’s tone and accessible phrasing, his performance also embodies the measured perspective necessary for listeners to hear this book as a wake-up call instead of a death knell. Though it focuses on what’s wrong, the book balances [that with] rigorous research and gripping life stories.”
“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)
Arthur Morey graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. As a narrator, he has received nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.
Titles by Reader > See all
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Genre: Nonfiction/Social Science
- ISBN-13: 9781442387553