Author: Robert D. Putnam, Genre: History, Total Page: 400, Publisher: Simon and Schuster, ISBN: 9781476769905

A New York Times bestseller and “a passionate, urgent” (The New Yorker) examination of the growing inequality gap from the bestselling author of Bowling Alone: why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility. Central to the very idea of America is the principle that we are a nation of opportunity. But over the last quarter century we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. We Americans have always believed that those who have talent and try hard will succeed, but this central tenet of the American Dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was. In Our Kids, Robert Putnam offers a personal and authoritative look at this new American crisis, beginning with the example of his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio. The vast majority of those students went on to lives better than those of their parents. But their children and grandchildren have faced diminishing prospects. Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich, middle class, and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, brilliantly blended with the latest social-science research. “A truly masterful volume” (Financial Times), Our Kids provides a disturbing account of the American dream that is “thoughtful and persuasive” (The Economist). Our Kids offers a rare combination of individual testimony and rigorous evidence: “No one can finish this book and feel complacent about equal opportunity” (The New York Times Book Review).

Author: Robert D. Putnam, Genre: History, Total Page: 400, Publisher: Simon and Schuster, ISBN: 9781476769899

In an authoritative, yet personal, examination of the growing inequality gap, a leading humanist and renowned scientist who has consulted for the last four U.S. Presidents, drawing on poignant life stories of rich and poor kids across the country, provides a disturbing account of the American dream. By the author of Bowling Alone. Includes 30 charts and graphs.

Author: Robert D. Putnam, Genre: History, Total Page: 400, Publisher: Simon and Schuster, ISBN: 9781476769912

A New York Times bestseller and “a passionate, urgent” (The New Yorker) examination of the growing inequality gap from the bestselling author of Bowling Alone: why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility. Central to the very idea of America is the principle that we are a nation of opportunity. But over the last quarter century we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. We Americans have always believed that those who have talent and try hard will succeed, but this central tenet of the American Dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was. In Our Kids, Robert Putnam offers a personal and authoritative look at this new American crisis, beginning with the example of his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio. The vast majority of those students went on to lives better than those of their parents. But their children and grandchildren have faced diminishing prospects. Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich, middle class, and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, brilliantly blended with the latest social-science research. “A truly masterful volume” (Financial Times), Our Kids provides a disturbing account of the American dream that is “thoughtful and persuasive” (The Economist). Our Kids offers a rare combination of individual testimony and rigorous evidence: “No one can finish this book and feel complacent about equal opportunity” (The New York Times Book Review).

Author: Robert D. Putnam, Genre: History, Total Page: 541, Publisher: Simon and Schuster, ISBN: 9780743203043

Shows how changes in work, family structure, women's roles, and other factors have caused people to become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and democratic structures--and how they may reconnect.

Author: Richard V. Reeves, Genre: Political Science, Total Page: 240, Publisher: Brookings Institution Press, ISBN: 9780815735496

Dream Hoarders sparked a national conversation on the dangerous separation between the upper middle class and everyone else. Now in paperback and newly updated for the age of Trump, Brookings Institution senior fellow Richard Reeves is continuing to challenge the class system in America. In America, everyone knows that the top 1 percent are the villains. The rest of us, the 99 percent—we are the good guys. Not so, argues Reeves. The real class divide is not between the upper class and the upper middle class: it is between the upper middle class and everyone else. The separation of the upper middle class from everyone else is both economic and social, and the practice of “opportunity hoarding”—gaining exclusive access to scarce resources—is especially prevalent among parents who want to perpetuate privilege to the benefit of their children. While many families believe this is just good parenting, it is actually hurting others by reducing their chances of securing these opportunities. There is a glass floor created for each affluent child helped by his or her wealthy, stable family. That glass floor is a glass ceiling for another child. Throughout Dream Hoarders, Reeves explores the creation and perpetuation of opportunity hoarding, and what should be done to stop it, including controversial solutions such as ending legacy admissions to school. He offers specific steps toward reducing inequality and asks the upper middle class to pay for it. Convinced of their merit, members of the upper middle class believes they are entitled to those tax breaks and hoarded opportunities. After all, they aren’t the 1 percent. The national obsession with the super rich allows the upper middle class to convince themselves that they are just like the rest of America. In Dream Hoarders, Reeves argues that in many ways, they are worse, and that changes in policy and social conscience are the only way to fix the broken system.

Author: Jennifer L. Hochschild, Genre: Education, Total Page: 320, Publisher: Oxford University Press, ISBN: 9780199839681

The American Dream and the Public Schools examines issues that have excited and divided Americans for years, including desegregation, school funding, testing, vouchers, bilingual education, and ability grouping. While these are all separate problems, much of the contention over them comes down to the same thing--an apparent conflict between policies designed to promote each student's ability to succeed and those designed to insure the good of all students or the nation as a whole. The authors show how policies to promote individual success too often benefit only those already privileged by race or class, and often conflict with policies that are intended to benefit everyone. They propose a framework that builds on our nation's rapidly changing population in order to help Americans get past acrimonious debates about schooling. Their goal is to make public education work better so that all children can succeed.

Author: Hilary Levey Friedman, Genre: PSYCHOLOGY, Total Page: 288, Publisher: Univ of California Press, ISBN: 9780520276758

"Many parents work more hours outside of the home and their lives are crowded with more obligations than ever before; many children spend their evenings and weekends trying out for all-star teams, traveling to regional and national tournaments, and eating dinner in the car while being shuttled between activities. In this vivid ethnography, based on almost 200 interviews with parents, children, coaches and teachers, Hilary Levey probes the increase in children's participation in activities outside of the home, structured and monitored by their parents, when family time is so scarce. As the parental "second shift" continues to grow, alongside it a second shift for children has emerged--especially among the middle- and upper-middle classes--which is suffused with competition rather than mere participation. What motivates these particular parents to get their children involved in competitive activities? Parents' primary concern is their children's access to high quality educational credentials--the biggest bottleneck standing in the way of, or facilitating entry into, membership in the upper-middle class. Competitive activities, like sports and the arts, are seen as the essential proving ground that will clear their children's paths to the Ivy League or other similar institutions by helping them to develop a competitive habitus. This belief, motivated both by reality and by perception, and shaped by gender and class, affects how parents envision their children's futures; it also shapes the structure of children's daily lives, what the children themselves think about their lives, and the competitive landscapes of the activities themselves"--

Author: J. D. Vance, Genre: Social Science, Total Page: 288, Publisher: HarperCollins, ISBN: 9780062872258

THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER IS NOW A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD AND STARRING AMY ADAMS, GLENN CLOSE, AND GABRIEL BASSO "You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist "A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal "Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history. A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

Author: Robert D. Putnam, Genre: History, Total Page: 480, Publisher: Simon & Schuster, ISBN: 9781982129149

An eminent political scientist’s brilliant analysis of economic, social, and political trends over the past century demonstrating how we have gone from an individualistic “I” society to a more communitarian “We” society and then back again, and how we can learn from that experience to become a stronger, more unified nation—from the author of Bowling Alone and Our Kids. Deep and accelerating inequality; unprecedented political polarization; vitriolic public discourse; a fraying social fabric; public and private narcissism—Americans today seem to agree on only one thing: This is the worst of times. But we’ve been here before. During the Gilded Age of the late 1800s, America was highly individualistic, starkly unequal, fiercely polarized, and deeply fragmented, just as it is today. However as the twentieth century opened, America became—slowly, unevenly, but steadily—more egalitarian, more cooperative, more generous; a society on the upswing, more focused on our responsibilities to one another and less focused on our narrower self-interest. Sometime during the 1960s, however, these trends reversed, leaving us in today’s disarray. In a sweeping overview of more than a century of history, drawing on his inimitable combination of statistical analysis and storytelling, Robert Putnam analyzes a remarkable confluence of trends that brought us from an “I” society to a “We” society and then back again. He draws inspiring lessons for our time from an earlier era, when a dedicated group of reformers righted the ship, putting us on a path to becoming a society once again based on community. Engaging, revelatory, and timely, this is Putnam’s most ambitious work yet, a fitting capstone to a brilliant career.

Author: Jason DeParle, Genre: Political Science, Total Page: 432, Publisher: Penguin, ISBN: 9781440649172

In this definitive work, two-time Pulitzer finalist Jason DeParle, author of A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves, cuts between the mean streets of Milwaukee and the corridors of Washington to produce a masterpiece of literary journalism. At the heart of the story are three cousins whose different lives follow similar trajectories. Leaving welfare, Angie puts her heart in her work. Jewell bets on an imprisoned man. Opal guards a tragic secret that threatens her kids and her life. DeParle traces their family history back six generations to slavery and weaves poor people, politicians, reformers, and rogues into a spellbinding epic. With a vivid sense of humanity, DeParle demonstrates that although we live in a country where anyone can make it, generation after generation some families don’t. To read American Dream is to understand why.