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The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again

Robert D. Putnam, Shaylyn Romney Garrett

An eminent political scientist's brilliant analysis of economic, social, and political trends over the past century demonstrating how we have gone from an individualistic "I" society to a more communitarian "We" society and then back again, and how we can learn from that experience to become a stronger, more unified nation--from the author of Bowling Alone and Our Kids.

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Book Information

Publisher: Simon & Schuster.
Publish Date: 10/13/2020
Pages: 480
ISBN-13: 9781982129149
ISBN-10: 198212914X
Language: English

What We're Saying

October 12, 2020

An eminent political scientist’s brilliant analysis of economic, social, and political trends over the past century demonstrating how we have gone from an individualistic “I” society to a more communitarian “We” society and then back again, and how we can learn from that experience to become a stronger, more unified nation. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

October 23, 2020

The two through lines of America (and any exceptionalism it may exhibit) have always been personal freedom and a commitment to the greater whole. They seem at odds with each other, but they are inextricably intertwined. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

An eminent political scientist's brilliant analysis of economic, social, and political trends over the past century demonstrating how we have gone from an individualistic "I" society to a more communitarian "We" society and then back again, and how we can learn from that experience to become a stronger, more unified nation--from the author of Bowling Alone and Our Kids. Deep and accelerating inequality; unprecedented political polarization; vitriolic public discourse; a fraying social fabric; public and private narcissism--Americans today seem to agree on only one thing: This is the worst of times. But we've been here before. During the Gilded Age of the late 1800s, America was highly individualistic, starkly unequal, fiercely polarized, and deeply fragmented, just as it is today. However as the twentieth century opened, America became--slowly, unevenly, but steadily--more egalitarian, more cooperative, more generous; a society on the upswing, more focused on our responsibilities to one another and less focused on our narrower self-interest. Sometime during the 1960s, however, these trends reversed, leaving us in today's disarray. In a sweeping overview of more than a century of history, drawing on his inimitable combination of statistical analysis and storytelling, Robert Putnam analyzes a remarkable confluence of trends that brought us from an "I" society to a "We" society and then back again. He draws inspiring lessons for our time from an earlier era, when a dedicated group of reformers righted the ship, putting us on a path to becoming a society once again based on community. Engaging, revelatory, and timely, this is Putnam's most ambitious work yet, a fitting capstone to a brilliant career.

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