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Publisher's Summary

An instant New York Times best seller - read by the author.

In an era of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and an unprecedented election, the country's youth are in crisis. Senator Ben Sasse warns the nation about the existential threat to America's future.

Raised by well-meaning but overprotective parents and coddled by well-meaning but misbegotten government programs, America's youth are ill-equipped to survive in our highly-competitive global economy.

Many of the coming-of-age rituals that have defined the American experience since the Founding: learning the value of working with your hands, leaving home to start a family, becoming economically self-reliant - are being delayed or skipped altogether. The statistics are daunting: 30% of college students drop out after the first year, and only 4 in 10 graduate. One in three 18-to-34 year-olds live with their parents.

From these disparate phenomena: Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse who as president of a Midwestern college observed the trials of this generation up close, sees an existential threat to the American way of life.

In The Vanishing American Adult, Sasse diagnoses the causes of a generation that can't grow up and offers a path for raising children to become active and engaged citizens. He identifies core formative experiences that all young people should pursue: hard work to appreciate the benefits of labor, travel to understand deprivation and want, the power of reading, the importance of nurturing your body - and explains how parents can encourage them.

Our democracy depends on responsible, contributing adults to function properly - without them America falls prey to populist demagogues. A call to arms, The Vanishing American Adult will ignite a much-needed debate about the link between the way we're raising our children and the future of our country.

©2017 Ben Sasse (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Former college president and now U.S. Senator Ben Sasse reads with the clarity and confidence of a voice pro in this friendly warning aimed at America's parents, teachers, and governing officials." (AudioFile Magazine)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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A truly non-partisan essay on being an American

I am a Democrat. I have never crossed the party line to vote for a Republican. This book is so visionary and well written that I am seriously reconsidering my absolute unwillingness to do so. Ben Sasse is a historian statesman cut from the same cloth as Cicero. He presents here and argument for America as an idea rather than a legislative agenda, and it is really inspiring. I highly recommend this book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyed this book, even as a socialist.

I enjoy hearing an alternative view even if it raised my blood pressure. Ben helped change my paradigm on lifestyle choices. I disagreed on several aspects but wish more politicians had his character. Thank you for this book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Rosemary
  • Greenwich, CT, United States
  • 05-21-17

Really Important book about work, kids and school

From a Blue State Progressive Democrat...this is the work of a real conservative politician, but it is sound, brilliant and well informed. Ben Sasse is the kind of conservative liberals can listen to and agree with. He Obviously listens as well and knows his onions. He has a very good moral compass. If Congress were all as bright and decent and willing to take a deep and long view as does as Ben Sasse we would all join hands and agree. As it is this is a very important book by a master historian. All American parents should read this. Senator Sasse has his finger on the button of teenage education like no one else. A little bit too long is the only criticism I have of this excellent work.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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A must-read for every American

This was one of the best books I've read this year! Sasse clearly and eloquently articulates the form is citizenship historically crucial to the flourishing of the republic and he takes great steps forward in working to diagnose the challenges the currently face American society. As well, this book is a substantive contribution to the tradition of conservative political thought, and very enjoyable to read. Certainly a must-read for every American parent but still extremely valuable for any American more generally. I cannot speak too highly of this book! #Sasse2024?

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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old school..a little biased..but good

narrator was the author who was good. makes observations but fails to address deeper causes.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Literate and Original

Since this will be stuck in many people's minds as a politician's book, and strictly it is, I should say that if it's in that genre it is the best one ever written because the rest are bilge. Better though to think of it as a well above average and sometimes excellent book in the society and parenting genre written by a literate and passionate person whom we hope to hear more from in the future. Very worth your time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding and transformational

Enthusiastic and somewhat pensive memior about how to grow up. Parents need this book. The book is not political. We will not escape the crisis, but this book helps us understand the magnitude and nature of our national/international difficulties maturing into anything resembling responsible adults.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 05-31-17

A must read non-political book by a politician!!

Ben Sasse is a 45 year old first term US senator from Nebraska. He is a Republican, but The Vanishing American Adult is not at all political. Sasse narrates this book himself and does a great job.

The premise of this book is that we as a society are in deep trouble in large part because we are not raising our children to become contributing adults; we are raising too many to be perpetual dependent teens. His message is that children need to be taught to be and required to be age appropriate self reliant. He gives many examples and then he makes suggestions for changes. I'm awarding the book the 5 stars it deserves but the book is not without flaws. The major flaw is that Senator Sasse comes across as "preachy" in parts of the book.

I strongly recommend The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis - and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance.

8 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Nick
  • Indiana
  • 12-11-17

fantastic! a must read!

this is an excellent book that accurately describes our situation in America. I heartily recommend it for everyone's consumption.

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The humble American

This book was very inspiring because Ben Sasse challenged me to invest in myself, those around me, and community I come from for the purpose of marking us a great nation. Who doesn’t love that type of focus on strong work ethic, thoughtful reading, developing a board cultural perspective and becoming the strongest person you can be. Very good!!