Robert PutnamOur Kids: The American Dream in Crisis

Simon and Schuster, 2015

by Heath Brown on March 23, 2015

Robert Putnam

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Robert Putnam is the author of Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis (Simon and Schuster, 2015). Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. He has written fourteen books including the best-seller, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.

Few political scientists command attention like Robert Putnam. For that reason, scholars and the wider public are eager for his take on our current state of affairs. His latest book, Our Kids, paints a grim picture of US life in the twentieth century. The social mobility that Putnam associates with his childhood growing up in Ohio is largely gone, replaced by deep income inequality and increasingly rigid class boundaries. Putnam demonstrates this with a combination of individual stories and supporting social science evidence all that point to education (or inadequate education) as the key determining factor. But in the end Putnam is not a pessimist, instead he sees opportunities for social change. The book ends with a series of recommendations, most non-political, but all aimed to address the country’s mobility problem.

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