Declining fortunes: the withering of the American dream

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BasicBooks, 1993 - Business & Economics - 257 pages
American society has reneged on its promise to the baby-boom generation. Young people for the first time find themselves unable to duplicate, let alone surpass, their own parents' standard of living. Although the media are filled with images of high-living yuppies, the realities for this generation of adults are far bleaker: home ownership rates are falling precipitously, pink slips cascade from corporate headquarters, and costs of raising a family rise threateningly. How are Americans coming to grips with declining fortunes? Based on years of probing research and candid interviews with postwar suburban parents and their baby-boom children, this book provides an unblinking look at the damage that economic decline has done to the people of America - damage reflected in taxpayer revolts, anger at the urban underclass, and fury at the nation's political elites. With insight and sensitivity, Katherine S. Newman explores all the disturbing implications of a trend that shows every indication of being a long-range phenomenon. She discusses the pressures on young mothers to stay at home - pressures that they can scarcely afford to indulge - and the frustration (often mixed with disdain) of elderly parents unable to see why their children can't "make it" as they did, "pulling themselves up by the bootstraps". She examines the growing xenophobia toward affluent Asian newcomers. And she points out the rift between counterculture baby boomers who came of age in the 1960s and those who grew up in the "me decade" of the 1970s, revealing that the baby-boom generation is a generation divided against itself. Here is a book that sheds new light on the driving issue of our day: downward mobility and thepolitics of resentment.

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DECLINING FORTUNES: The Withering of the American Dream

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Columbia anthropologist Newman (Falling from Grace, 1988) fords the Hudson River and discovers suburbia—as well as a shrieking discontent that will surprise few. ``In the decades that followed the ... Read full review

Declining fortunes: the withering of the American dream

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Newman, a Columbia University anthropology professor and author of Falling from Grace: The Downward Mobility of the Middle Class (Free Pr., 1988), sought to get behind economic statistics by ... Read full review


Winners and Losers in the Eighties and Nineties
The Making of the Boomers
The Problem of the Moral Mother

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About the author (1993)

Katherine S. Newman is James B. Knapp Dean of the Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Among her many books are "Falling From Grace, No Shame in My Game, Rampage" and "The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America". Rourke L. O'Brien is a graduate student in sociology and social policy at Princeton University and a non-resident fellow of the New America Foundation.