Synopses & Reviews
A New 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 a privileged 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.
"The ostensibly willful destruction of the American middle class is laid bare in this villains and underdogs story from the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting duo, Barlett and Steele (coauthors, America: What Went Wrong?). The authors describe economic policy changes in the decades since WWII, and demonstrate how fiscal rejiggering at the governmental level has produced a powerful and unchecked economic elite in America. Addressing issues like outsourcing, 'the skewing of the tax code in favor of the rich,' and the deregulation of major industries, and investigating case studies like Boeing, Apple, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the authors paint a sobering picture of collusion between a money-hungry Congress, big business, and the 'financial cowboys' of Wall Street, who have dismantled the opportunities and hopes of the American middle class in order to increase the rate of cash flow to the rich. Stories of hard-working employees and business owners watching their jobs and retirement accounts vanish will pull on readers' heartstrings, while inflammatory language accompanies descriptions of the 'charlatans' and 'financial bandits' engineering Joe Mainstreet's downfall. The book is simplistic in its depiction of the good guys versus the bad, and policy wonks will be disappointed with the surface-level analysis of complex economic theory and history. But for folks bowled over by the recent financial meltdown, Barlett and Steele's book will resonate. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A fiercely-reported indictment of how the American middle class has been condemned to terminal decline, from the authors of the New York Times bestseller America: What Went Wrong
A series of actions by Washington and Wall Street over decades have systematically dismantled the economic foundation of Americas middle class. In The Betrayal
, two of the countrys finest investigative reporters reveal the extent of the ruination and the people and agencies most culpable.
Barlett and Steeles 1992 bestseller about Washingtons assault on the middle classAmerica: What Went Wrongwas controversial in its day. But when the authors reexamined it, their conclusions then seemed quaint in the light of todays realities. For this new book they document a fundamental betrayal of the American promise, through peerless reportorial investigation and through the perspectives of workers and businessmen across the country. One former factory manager said: If we keep up as we are now, within twenty to thirty years will there even be a middle class?” Barlett and Steele show why Americans are rightfully fearful about the future, and warn that greater economic pain lies ahead unless we make fundamental changes now.
About the Author
Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele are the nation’s most honored investigative reporting team, and authors of the New York Times bestseller America: What Went Wrong? They have worked together for more than forty years, first at the Philadelphia Inquirer (1971–1997), then at Time magazine (1997–2006), and now at Vanity Fair since 2006. They have also written seven books. They are the only reporting team ever to have received two Pulitzer Prizes for newspaper reporting and two National Magazine Awards for magazine work. They live in Philadelphia.