Bowling alone: the collapse and revival of American community

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Simon & Schuster, Jun 1, 2000 - History - 541 pages
188 Reviews
Once we bowled in leagues, usually after work; but no longer. This seemingly small phenomenon symbolizes a significant social change that Robert Putnam has identified and describes in this brilliant volume, Bowling Alone. Drawing on vast new data from the Roper Social and Political Trends and the DDB Needham Life Style -- surveys that report in detail on Americans' changing behavior over the past twenty-five years -- Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and social structures, whether the PTA, church, recreation clubs, political parties, or bowling leagues. Our shrinking access to the "social capital" that is the reward of communal activity and community sharing is a serious threat to our civic and personal health. Putnam's groundbreaking work shows how social bonds are the most powerful predictor of life satisfaction. For example, he reports that getting married is the equivalent of quadrupling your income and attending a club meeting regularly is the equivalent of doubling your income. The loss of social capital is felt in critical ways: Communities with less social capital have lower educational performance and more teen pregnancy, child suicide, low birth weight, and prenatal mortality. Social capital is also a strong predictor of crime rates and other measures of neighborhood quality of life, as it is of our health: In quantitative terms, if you both smoke and belong to no groups, it's a close call as to which is the riskier behavior. A hundred years ago, at the turn of the last century, America's stock of social capital was at an ebb, reduced by urbanization, industrialization, and vast immigration that uprooted Americans from their friends, social institutions, and families, a situation similar to today's. Faced with this challenge, the country righted itself. Within a few decades, a range of organizations was created, from the Red Cross, Boy Scouts, and YWCA to Hadassah and the Knights of Columbus and the Urban League. With these and many more cooperative societies we rebuilt our social capital. We can learn from the experience of those decades, Putnam writes, as we work to rebuild our eroded social capital. It won't happen without the concerted creativity and energy of Americans nationwide. Like defining works from the past that have endured -- such as The Lonely Crowd and The Affluent Society -- and like C. Wright Mills, Richard Hofstadter, Betty Friedan, David Riesman, Jane Jacobs, Rachel Carson, and Theodore Roszak, Putnam has identified a central crisis at the heart of our society and suggests what we can do.

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Excellent insights into American society today. - Goodreads
But the writing style induces anguish. - Goodreads
Bowling Alone is a fascinating research endeavor. - Goodreads
The writing is terrible. - Goodreads
Well-researched examination of American community. - Goodreads
Putnam is a competent writer and is very convincing. - Goodreads

Review: Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

User Review  - Gina - Goodreads

This book is thoroughly researched and the information is important, but it is so dry and boring that many people will never find the information. It may just be overly academic for something that could be valuable for non-academics. Read full review

Review: Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

User Review  - Edward - Goodreads

One of my favorites on why America's community has declined since post WWII. Read full review

Contents

humus IN Civic ENGAGEMENT AND SOCIAL CAPITAL
65
Religious Participation
80
Connections in the Workplace
93
Copyright

18 other sections not shown

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About the author (2000)

Robert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. He is the author of six previous books, and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, and other publications. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, and Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

To find out more about Bowling Alone and ways to help rebuild our nation's social capital, visit the author's Web site at www.BowlingAlone.com.

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