Summary of Our Kids

The American Dream in Crisis

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Our Kids book summary
How class inequality destroys education, poor children’s futures and the fabric of America.


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Harvard public policy professor Robert D. Putnam documents the tragic plight of the American dream of upward mobility. His case studies, statistics and charts illustrate how the lower class has diverged from the middle and upper classes in economics, education, health and other areas. The personal accounts of people struggling against overwhelming and multifaceted circumstances will break your heart. getAbstract recommends Putnam’s presentation to educators, parents, politicians, policy makers, NGOs, and anyone interested in creating a more functional, fair society in the United States.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What changes have affected the American dream of upward mobility,
  • How life in the US differs by class,
  • How the lack of upward class movement affects children of poorer parents and
  • What steps people can take to help reverse this trend.


What Happened to the American Dream?
In the 1950s, Port Clinton, Ohio, offered a solid portrait of the American Dream. Minorities and women suffered social repression, but income inequality was relatively low. People from different classes mixed socially and often intermarried. Communities...
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About the Author

Robert D. Putnam is Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard, winner of the Skytte Prize and the National Humanities Medal, and author of American Grace and Bowling Alone.

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