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Who Stole the American Dream? | [Hedrick Smith]

Who Stole the American Dream?

In his best-selling The Russians, Hedrick 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 best-selling 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.

©2012 Hendrick Smith; ©2012 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Remarkably comprehensive and coherent analysis of and prescriptions for America's contemporary economic malaise by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Smith.... Smith sets out on a mission to trace the history of these strategies and policies, which transformed America from a roughly fair society to its current status as a plutocracy. He leaves few stones unturned.... [F]ascinating detail...brilliant analyses." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Hedrick Smith is a clear thinker and a great writer who has done a terrific job chronicling the increasing disarray in the once powerful social compact between America's middle class and our business and political leadership. Smith also presents an American 'Marshall Plan' which is a solid road map for recovery from the results of failed business, media, and political leadership of the last 30 years." (Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont, former DNC Chairman)

"Here now is the terrible story of how the so-called New Economy destroyed the many credos and practices that once pushed and prodded the American way of life. Hedrick Smith gives names, dates, and actions behind the transformation from a corporate and financial culture driven by shared wealth to one of CEO/ownership greed. Read it and weep with profound sadness and then scream with red-faced anger. It seems almost too tame to call it simply a book. It is an indictment that is as stinging, stunning and important as any ever handed down by a grand jury." (Jim Lehrer)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Jared Wake Forest, NC, United States 11-20-12
    Jared Wake Forest, NC, United States 11-20-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    14
    4
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    "Great listen. good explanations & background"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Who Stole the American Dream? to be better than the print version?

    I have never read the printed version, so i would not know. But this is narrated very well, very thorough without hanging up on irrelevant details that don't pertain to the story. Details are presented in an easy to listen format, as well as explaining background information. great listen for any one


    What other book might you compare Who Stole the American Dream? to and why?

    I don't read/listen to many politically central or related books, but this one stuck out. With a background in industry and business some examples used i felt i could side either way, but the thing that sets this book apart from other 'stronger one-sided opinions' is the great ways the author goes in giving detailed back ground knowledge and history, most of which we would otherwise not pay attention to.


    Have you listened to any of Rob Shapiro’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not, but after this I may.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book will potentially make you angry. Not at the author or the book, but the context and information of the book. Especially that you see the same thing occurring, RIGHT NOW. and you almost feel useless. But knowledge is power, and we should probably learn as much as we can before its banned too.


    Any additional comments?

    This book definitely made a positive impact in the way I live my life in that I more actively shop/purchase from companies that are innovative, treat their customers AND employees like people, not just a means to increase their stock price.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Wyoming, Michigan, United States 09-07-14
    Kevin Wyoming, Michigan, United States 09-07-14 Member Since 2013

    Scientist, Atheist, Humanist, and Historian. I don't know everything, but I know enough to know if you're full of it!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Depressing in More Ways Than One."
    What would have made Who Stole the American Dream? better?

    I was reading this book for a class. So had I actually chosen it to read for myself, I suppose it would have been better.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    The Blind Watchmaker - Richard Dawkins


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Rob Shapiro?

    Lewis Black


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Well, the premise of the book sucked because who wants to find out they have been getting screwed?! Nobody!


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    11-05-12
    11-05-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "Essential Reading"
    What made the experience of listening to Who Stole the American Dream? the most enjoyable?

    This is a thorough analysis of the consequences of deregulation of government carried too far. Deregulation started by Reagan and Thatcher was based on a misreading of Hayek's Road to Serfdom. Deregulation of the financial industry has led to unfettered white collar crime and a nullification of the good work of the Chicago School and Milton Friedman. This in turn has led to subversion of the democratic apparatus in America and the rise of fascist-like oligarchs and political superpacs.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Systematic and comprehensible description of the "Great Recession." and erosion of home equity value.


    Have you listened to any of Rob Shapiro’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Great voice, easy listening.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    White Collar Crime in America or Worse than the S&L Scandal


    Any additional comments?

    Essential reading to accompany the works of Robert Reich, Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz. It defines the problem of income inequality in America and the importance of resurrecting an affluent middle class. It also identifies the villains without suggesting how revanchism might be achieved.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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