The Undeclared War against the Middle Class—and What We Can Do about It

  • Read by: Anthony Heald
  • Runtime: 6.9 Hours
  • Recording: Unabridged
  • Release date: 2.1.2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio
  • Genre: Nonfiction/Political Science
  • 6.93 hrs2/1/2008Unabridged
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-4551-9031-7
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Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Our founding fathers worked hard to ensure that a small group of wealthy people would never dominate this country.  They’d had enough of aristocracy. They put government to work to ensure a thriving middle class. When the middle class took a hit, beginning in the post–Civil War Gilded Age and culminating in the Great Depression, democracy-loving leaders like Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower revitalized it through initiatives such as antitrust regulations, fair-labor laws, the minimum wage, social security, and Medicare.

So what happened? Thom Hartmann shows that, over the last few decades, we’ve witnessed an undeclared war against the middle class. The so-called conservatives waging this war are only interested in conserving—and steadily increasing—their own wealth and power. Hartmann shows how, under the guise of “freeing” the market, they’ve systematically dismantled the programs set up by both Republicans and Democrats to protect the middle class and have replaced them with policies that favor only the privileged few.

But the middle class is the very thing that makes America great. Thomas Jefferson himself believed that our very democracy depends upon our ability to play referee to the game of business, protecting labor and the public good. It is both our right and our responsibility, Jefferson wrote, to control “overgrown wealth” from becoming “dangerous to the state.”

We must not stand by while our democracy becomes a corporatocracy, serving an elite group of billionaire CEOs. There is another way. Thomas Jefferson knew how to build a middle class. Franklin Roosevelt knew how. We’ve done it before and we can do it again. Following Hartmann’s common-sense proposals, we can re-create a prospering middle class that will ensure our public institutions are not turned into private fiefdoms, meet people’s basic needs—for education, health care, a living wage—and keep America strong.

Editorial Reviews

“An intelligent critique of the contemporary plight of the middle class.”

Publishers Weekly

“Anthony Heald is perfect as the narrator. His voice is steady as he discusses economic theory, delivering key concepts clearly and often slowing his pace so listeners can absorb the points. But he lets the emotion in his tone rise as he reads about inequities.”


Author Biography

Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling author and national radio host, formerly with Air America and now syndicated by Dial Global. Recently called the most important progressive talk show host in America by Talkers magazine, he is also the author of numerous books, including The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, which helped inspire Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary The 11th Hour, which features Hartmann. His other books include We the People, Unequal Protection, What Would Jefferson Do?, and Screwed.

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Reader Biography

Anthony Heald, an Audie Award–winning narrator, has earned Tony nominations and an Obie Award for his theater work; appeared in television’s Law & Order, The X-Files, Miami Vice, and Boston Public; and starred as Dr. Frederick Chilton in the 1991 Oscar-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, with his family.

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