Listen free for 30 days

Our Kids

The American Dream in Crisis
Narrated by: Arthur Morey
Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

A groundbreaking examination of the growing inequality gap from the best-selling author of Bowling Alone: why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility.

It's the American dream: get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success. This is the America we believe in - a nation of opportunity, constrained only by ability and effort. But during the last 25 years we have seen a disturbing "opportunity gap" emerge. Americans have always believed in equality of opportunity, the idea that all kids, regardless of their family background, should have a decent chance to improve their lot in life. Now, this central tenet of the American dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was. Robert Putnam - about whom The Economist said, "his scholarship is wide-ranging, his intelligence luminous, his tone modest, his prose unpretentious and frequently funny" - offers a personal but also authoritative look at this new American crisis. Putnam begins with his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio. By and large the vast majority of those students - "our kids" - went on to lives better than those of their parents. But their children and grandchildren have had harder lives amid diminishing prospects. Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, drawing on a formidable body of research done especially for this book.

Our Kids is a rare combination of individual testimony and rigorous evidence. Putnam provides a disturbing account of the American dream that should initiate a deep examination of the future of our country.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2015 Robert D. Putnam (P)2015 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Essential reading on both sides of The Pond.

What has already happened in the US and what is likely to happen in the UK

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

how, really, to make America great again.

Compulsory reading for those wondering what just happened in America. If the idea that mendacious racists have unexpectedly taken over the country seems unsatisfying to you then you may find Putnam's argument - that there are real demographic and socioeconomic drivers dislocating middle and working class America from the metropolitan elite and they're not the ones the liberal media think they are - pretty compelling. I certainly did.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Catherine Spiller
  • Catherine Spiller
  • 28-03-15

A more relatable, less rigorous, Coming Apart

This book is filled with fascinating nuggets of data, insights, and explanations for our world. I sometimes felt like the selection of anecdote was a little manipulative. Putnam admits that some examples were chosen that were particularly vivid to make the lesson clearer. When talking about the macro data though, Putnam seems fair, modest, creative, and insightful. The policy recommendations feature unsurprisingly less modest suggestions about the scope of our knowledge, but again he's open about this. An excellent read either in conjunction with Charles Murray's Coming Apart or for those who find lengthy data analysis a struggle to read.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Laurie
  • Laurie
  • 11-04-15

A sobering listen

I think this book sheds light on a problem that a lot of us try to ignore - the growing poor right around our own neighborhoods. I don't have children, but I am nonetheless amazed when someone glibly states "if you want to get ahead, you just need to work a little harder". This book explains just why that no longer really rings true. I found it to be very informative and thought provoking.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pepper
  • Pepper
  • 15-04-15

Awesome Book - Makes you think!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I would recommend this book to a friend, I wish I could buy a copy for every teacher at my kids' school and have them read it. I think that a lot of this book is about thing that we are all aware of, things that happen, yet haven't quite put words to it. Also, the way we treat some kids and not others, something I believe came on us slowly, and not really consciously intended. He brings it to the surface.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Our Kids?

All the personal stories of the parents and the kids.

Which character – as performed by Arthur Morey – was your favorite?

Arthur Morey was an excellent pick for this book. There are a lot of statistics in this book, yet when he read them it was easy to keep up.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-10-19

Eye-opening

I liked this book because it opened my eyes to a largely hidden problem in America - the opportunity to succeed as a poor kid is quickly vanishing. The book was a fair presentation of this issue, and without any apparent bias. It did get a bit dry because of the many statistics, but I suppose they were nessecary. I loved the real life stories in each chapter.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kyle
  • Kyle
  • 05-09-19

Not Very Compelling

Class origins is the subject of the book according to the author. He asserts this half-way thru chapter one.

To me, Putnam spends some time setting the stage for post-modern America, then moves on to examen the consequences of globalizing capital.

There is a lot in this text. I think it is a little scattered and boring—maybe it was written for universities to put on reading lists for general education courses.

It is interesting how shout outs to certain policies such as School Choice can be found here.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nathan J. Rebman
  • Nathan J. Rebman
  • 25-07-19

Pretty Dry

Great data. Not sure what to do with the information, but it was nteresting nonetheless.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mastiff Enthusiast
  • Mastiff Enthusiast
  • 15-06-19

well thought out, wish there were more stats

very effective use of narratives to illustrate points. but being a nerd, I wish there were a few more nationwide statistics to support the story. I also really like these fact that he addy least *tried* to talk about solutions. so many of these books point out the problem but then have no real solution to it. hopefully a politician somewhere is listening.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Todd
  • Todd
  • 27-01-19

Well Researched

Good look at what it might take to fix one of our most compelling issues,

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Paul
  • Paul
  • 31-10-18

Must read

We all need to read this book and listen to its message. Our future as a democracy depends on narrowing the opportunity gap and giving those in need, and their children, the resources they need to be successful.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for L
  • L
  • 17-10-18

Where our society is now

From the author of Bowling Alone, this could be seen as the follow up. What has happened to social mobility in this country and why. And he has some ideas on what to do about it. This is an important book for anyone who is concerned by the growing divides in wealth, income, and opportunity in America.