After America's Midlife Crisis

After America's Midlife Crisis

by Michael Gecan, M. Gecan

Hardcover

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Overview

A longtime community organizer outlines a way to reverse the fifty-year decline in social mobility and economic progress.

Michael Gecan, a longtime community organizer, offers in this book a disturbing conclusion: the kinds of problems that began to afflict large cities in the 1970s have now spread to the suburbs and beyond. The institutional cornerstones of American life are on an extended decline. No longer young, no longer without limitations or constraints, the country is facing a midlife crisis. Drawing on personal experiences and the stories of communities in Illinois, New York, and other areas, Gecan draws a vivid picture of civic, political, and religious institutions in trouble, from suburban budget crises to failing public schools. Gecan shows that the loss of social capital has followed closely upon institutional failure. He looks in particular at the two main support systems of social mobility and economic progress for the majority of working poor Americans in the first half of the last century—the Roman Catholic school system and the American public high school. As these institutions that generated social progress have faded, those depending on social regression—prisons, jails, and detention centers—have thrived. Can we reverse the trends? Gecan offers hope and a direction forward. He calls on national and local leadership to shed old ways of thinking and face new realities, which include not only the substantial costs of change but also its considerable benefits. Only then will we enjoy the next rich phase of our local and national life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262013604
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 08/28/2009
Series: Boston Review Books
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Michael Gecan, a veteran organizer who trained with Saul Alinsky, is an executive member of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). He has worked in both Chicago and New York City and is the author of Going Public: An Organizer's Guide to Citizen Action.

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From the Publisher

"In this practical little book, he [Gecan] offers observations and suggestions for pulling America's cities and suburbs back from the brink of decrepitude and dysfunction."Susan Salter Reynolds Los Angeles Times

The MIT Press

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