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On the Shelf at CCBC Libraries
Stakes Is High by
Brave, clear-eyed, and passionate, Stakes Is High is the book we need to guide us past crisis mode and through an uncertain future. The events of the past decade have forced us to reckon with who we are and who we want to be. We have been invested in a set of beliefs about our American identity: our exceptionalism, the inevitable rightness of our path, the promise that hard work and determination will carry us to freedom. But in Stakes Is High, Mychal Denzel Smith confronts the shortcomings of these stories -- and with the American Dream itself -- and calls on us to live up to the principles we profess but fail to realize. In a series of incisive essays, Smith exposes the stark contradictions at the heart of American life, holding all of us, individually and as a nation, to account. We've gotten used to looking away, but the fissures and casual violence of institutional oppression are ever-present. There is a future that is not as grim as our past. In this profound work, Smith helps us envision it with care, honesty, and imagination.
Call Number: HM821 .S58 2020
Behold, America by
A Smithsonian Magazine Best History Book of 2018 The unknown history of two ideas crucial to the struggle over what America stands for In Behold, America, Sarah Churchwell offers a surprising account of twentieth-century Americans' fierce battle for the nation's soul. It follows the stories of two phrases -- the "American dream" and "America First" -- that once embodied opposing visions for America. Starting as a Republican motto before becoming a hugely influential isolationist slogan during World War I, America First was always closely linked with authoritarianism and white supremacy. The American dream, meanwhile, initially represented a broad vision of democratic and economic equality. Churchwell traces these notions through the 1920s boom, the Depression, and the rise of fascism at home and abroad, laying bare the persistent appeal of demagoguery in America and showing us how it was resisted. At a time when many ask what America's future holds, Behold, America is a revelatory, unvarnished portrait of where we have been.
Call Number: E169.1 .C478 2018
Named a "Triumph" of 2018 by New York Times Book Critics Shortlisted for the 800-CEO-READ Business Book Award The untold history of the surprising origins of the "gig economy" --how deliberate decisions made by consultants and CEOs in the 50s and 60s upended the stability of the workplace and the lives of millions of working men and women in postwar America. Every working person in the United States asks the same question, how secure is my job? For a generation, roughly from 1945 to 1970, business and government leaders embraced a vision of an American workforce rooted in stability. But over the last fifty years, job security has cratered as the postwar institutions that insulated us from volatility--big unions, big corporations, powerful regulators--have been swept aside by a fervent belief in "the market." Temp tracks the surprising transformation of an ethos which favored long-term investment in work (and workers) to one promoting short-term returns. A series of deliberate decisions preceded the digital revolution and upended the longstanding understanding of what a corporation, or a factory, or a shop, was meant to do. Temp tells the story of the unmaking of American work through the experiences of those on the inside: consultants and executives, temps and office workers, line workers and migrant laborers. It begins in the sixties, with economists, consultants, business and policy leaders who began to shift the corporation from a provider of goods and services to one whose sole purpose was to maximize profit--an ideology that brought with it the risk-taking entrepreneur and the shareholder revolution and changed the very definition of a corporation. With Temp, Hyman explains one of the nation's most immediate crises. Uber are not the cause of insecurity and inequality in our country, and neither is the rest of the gig economy. The answer goes deeper than apps, further back than downsizing, and contests the most essential assumptions we have about how our businesses should work.
Call Number: HD5854.2.U6 H96 2018
Chasing the American Dream by
The United States has been epitomized as a land of opportunity, where hard work and skill can bring personal success and economic well-being. The American Dream has captured the imagination of people from all walks of life, and to many, it represents the heart and soul of the country. Butthere is another, darker side to the bargain that America strikes with its people - it is the price we pay for our individual pursuit of the American Dream. That price can be found in the economic hardship present in the lives of millions of Americans.In Chasing the American Dream, leading social scientists Mark Robert Rank, Thomas A. Hirschl, and Kirk A. Foster provide a new and innovative look into a curious dynamic - the tension between the promise of economic opportunities and rewards and the amount of turmoil that Americans encounter intheir quest for those rewards. The authors explore questions such as:* What percentage of Americans achieve affluence, and how much income mobility do we actually have?* Are most Americans able to own a home, and at what age?* How is it that nearly 80 percent of us will experience significant economic insecurity at some point between ages 25 and 60?* How can access to the American Dream be increased?Combining personal interviews with dozens of Americans and a longitudinal study covering 40 years of income data, the authors tell the story of the American Dream and reveal a number of surprises. The risk of economic vulnerability has increased substantially over the past four decades, and theAmerican Dream is becoming harder to reach and harder to keep. Yet for most Americans, the Dream lies not in wealth, but in economic security, pursuing one's passions, and looking toward the future. Chasing the American Dream provides us with a new understanding into the dynamics that shape ourfortunes and a deeper insight into the importance of the American Dream for the future of the country.
Call Number: HC106.84 .R36 2014
Who Stole the American Dream? by
Pulitzer Prize winner Hedrick Smith's new book is an extraordinary achievement, an eye-opening account of how, over the past four decades, the American Dream has been dismantled and we became two Americas. In his bestselling The Russians, Smith took millions of readers inside the Soviet Union. In The Power Game, he took us inside Washington's corridors of power. Now Smith takes us across America to show how seismic changes, sparked by a sequence of landmark political and economic decisions, have transformed America. As only a veteran reporter can, Smith fits the puzzle together, starting with Lewis Powell's provocative memo that triggered a political rebellion that dramatically altered the landscape of power from then until today. This is a book full of surprises and revelations--the accidental beginnings of the 401(k) plan, with disastrous economic consequences for many; the major policy changes that began under Jimmy Carter; how the New Economy disrupted America's engine of shared prosperity, the "virtuous circle" of growth, and how America lost the title of "Land of Opportunity." Smith documents the transfer of $6 trillion in middle-class wealth from homeowners to banks even before the housing boom went bust, and how the U.S. policy tilt favoring the rich is stunting America's economic growth. This book is essential reading for all of us who want to understand America today, or why average Americans are struggling to keep afloat. Smith reveals how pivotal laws and policies were altered while the public wasn't looking, how Congress often ignores public opinion, why moderate politicians got shoved to the sidelines, and how Wall Street often wins politically by hiring over 1,400 former government officials as lobbyists. Smith talks to a wide range of people, telling the stories of Americans high and low. From political leaders such as Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Martin Luther King, Jr., to CEOs such as Al Dunlap, Bob Galvin, and Andy Grove, to heartland Middle Americans such as airline mechanic Pat O'Neill, software systems manager Kristine Serrano, small businessman John Terboss, and subcontractor Eliseo Guardado, Smith puts a human face on how middle-class America and the American Dream have been undermined. This magnificent work of history and reportage is filled with the penetrating insights, provocative discoveries, and the great empathy of a master journalist. Finally, Smith offers ideas for restoring America's great promise and reclaiming the American Dream. Praise for Who Stole the American Dream? "[A] sweeping, authoritative examination of the last four decades of the American economic experience."--The Huffington Post "Some fine work has been done in explaining the mess we're in. . . . But no book goes to the headwaters with the precision, detail and accessibility of Smith."--The Seattle Times "Sweeping in scope . . . [Smith] posits some steps that could alleviate the problems of the United States."--USA Today "Brilliant . . . [a] remarkably comprehensive and coherent analysis of and prescriptions for America's contemporary economic malaise."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Smith enlivens his narrative with portraits of the people caught up in events, humanizing complex subjects often rendered sterile in economic analysis. . . . The human face of the story is inseparable from the history."--Reuters
Call Number: E839.5 .S59 2013
Killing the American Dream by
As the US deports record numbers of illegal immigrants and local and state governments scramble to pass laws resembling dystopian police states where anyone can be questioned and neighbors are encouraged to report on one another, violent anti-immigration rhetoric is growing across the nation. Against this tide of hysteria, Pilar Marrero reveals how damaging this rise in malice toward immigrants is not only to the individuals, but to our country as a whole. Marrero explores the rise in hate groups and violence targeting the foreign-born from the 1986 Immigration Act to the increasing legislative madness of laws like Arizona's SB1070 which allows law officers to demand documentation from any individual with "reasonable suspicion" of citizenship, essentially encouraging states and municipalities to form their own self-contained nation-states devoid of immigrants. Assessing the current status quo of immigration, Marrero reveals the economic drain these ardent anti-immigration policies have as they deplete the nation of an educated work force, undermine efforts to stabilize tax bases and social security, and turn the American Dream from a time honored hallmark of the nation into an unattainable fantasy for all immigrants of the present and future.
Call Number: JV6483 .M2995 2012
The Betrayal of the American Dream by
ANew York Times bestseller America's unique prosperity is based on its creation of a middle class. In the twentieth century, that middle class provided the workforce, the educated skills, and the demand that gave life to the world's greatest consumer economy. It was innovative and dynamic; it eclipsed old imperial systems and colonial archetypes. It gave rise to a dream: that if you worked hard and followed the rules you would prosper in America, and your children would enjoy a better life than yours. The American dream was the lure to gifted immigrants and the birthright opportunity for every American citizen. It is as important a part of the history of the country as the passing of the Bill of Rights, the outcome of the battle of Gettysburg, or the space program. Incredibly, however, for more than thirty years, government and big business in America have conspired to roll back the American dream. What was once accessible to a wide swath of the population is increasingly open only to aprivileged few. The story of how the American middle class has been systematically impoverished and its prospects thwarted in favor of a new ruling elite is at the heart of this extraordinarily timely and revealing book, whose devastating findings from two of the finest investigative reporters in the country will leave you astonished and angry.
Call Number: HC106.84 .B37 2012
Ta-Nehisi Coates's Take on the American Dream
Online From CCBC Libraries
Happiness for All? by
How the optimism gap between rich and poor is creating an increasingly divided society The Declaration of Independence states that all people are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the pursuit of happiness. But is happiness available equally to everyone in America today? How about elsewhere in the world? Carol Graham draws on cutting-edge research linking income inequality with well-being to show how the widening prosperity gap has led to rising inequality in people's beliefs, hopes, and aspirations. For the United States and other developed countries, the high costs of being poor are most evident not in material deprivation but rather in stress, insecurity, and lack of hope. The result is an optimism gap between rich and poor that, if left unchecked, could lead to an increasingly divided society. Graham reveals how people who do not believe in their own futures are unlikely to invest in them, and how the consequences can range from job instability and poor education to greater mortality rates, failed marriages, and higher rates of incarceration. She describes how the optimism gap is reflected in the very words people use--the wealthy use words that reflect knowledge acquisition and healthy behaviors, while the words of the poor reflect desperation, short-term outlooks, and patchwork solutions. She also explains why the least optimistic people in America are poor whites, not poor blacks or Hispanics. Happiness for All? highlights the importance of well-being measures in identifying and monitoring trends in life satisfaction and optimism--and misery and despair--and demonstrates how hope and happiness can lead to improved economic outcomes.
Publication Date: 2017
Third Wave Capitalism by
In Third Wave Capitalism, John Ehrenreich documents the emergence of a new stage in the history of American capitalism. Just as the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century gave way to corporate capitalism in the twentieth, recent decades have witnessed corporate capitalism evolving into a new phase, which Ehrenreich calls "Third Wave Capitalism." Third Wave Capitalism is marked by apparent contradictions: Rapid growth in productivity and lagging wages; fabulous wealth for the 1 percent and the persistence of high levels of poverty; increases in the standard of living and increases in mental illness, personal misery, and political rage; the apotheosis of the individual and the deterioration of democracy; increases in life expectancy and out-of-control medical costs; an African American president and the incarceration of a large percentage of the black population. Ehrenreich asserts that these phenomena are evidence that a virulent, individualist, winner-take-all ideology and a virtual fusion of government and business have subverted the American dream. Greed and economic inequality reinforce the sense that each of us is "on our own." The result is widespread lack of faith in collective responses to our common problems. The collapse of any organized opposition to business demands makes political solutions ever more difficult to imagine. Ehrenreich traces the impact of these changes on American health care, school reform, income distribution, racial inequities, and personal emotional distress. Not simply a lament, Ehrenreich's book seeks clues for breaking out of our current stalemate and proposes a strategy to create a new narrative in which change becomes possible.
Publication Date: 2016
The American Dream by
The American Dream' is a phrase that has become an essential component of the American experience, a phrase that, once entered into the national lexicon, has come to define our nation's identity, underlying nearly every aspect of our lives. And since the birth of the founding document of our nation, the Declaration of Independence, the idea of 'The American Dream' has become a pervasive and frequently deconstructed theme within the canon of American literature.
Publication Date: 2013
The American Dream by
There is no better way to understand America than by understanding the cultural history of the American Dream. Rather than just a powerful philosophy or ideology, the Dream is thoroughly woven into the fabric of everyday life, playing a vital role in who we are, what we do, and why we do it. No other idea or mythology has as much influence on our individual and collective lives. Tracing the history of the phrase in popular culture, Samuel gives readers a field guide to the evolution of our national identity over the last eighty years. Samuel tells the story chronologically, revealing that there have been six major eras of the mythology since the phrase was coined in 1931. Relying mainly on period magazines and newspapers as his primary source material, the author demonstrates that journalists serving on the front lines of the scene represent our most valuable resource to recover unfiltered stories of the Dream. The problem, Samuel reveals, is that it does not exist; the Dream is just that, a product of our imagination. That it is not real ultimately turns out to be the most significant finding and what makes the story most compelling.
Publication Date: 2012
The American Dream in the 21st Century by
The American Dream has long been a dominant theme in U.S. culture, one with enduring significance, but these are difficult times for dreamers. The editors of and contributors to "The American Dream in the 21st Century" examine the American Dream historically, socially, and economically and consider its intersection with politics, religion, race, gender, and generation. The conclusions presented in this short, readable volume provide both optimism for the faith that most Americans have in the possibility of achieving the American Dream and a realistic assessment of the cracks in the dream. The last presidential election offered hope, but the experts here warn about the need for better programs and policies that could make the dream a reality for a larger number of Americans.
Publication Date: 2011
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