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by Hedrick Smith
—Jay W. Lorsch, Harvard Business School
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. Smith knits together political and economic developments and significant shifts in American capitalism under the last six presidents and combines penetrating profiles of corporate and political leaders with close-up reporting on the experience of average Americans in an interdisciplinary work that offers excellent reading and teaching material for American history, political science, economics, public policy, business, journalism and government courses. In his bestselling 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 in Washington 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 home-owners 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. Smith talks to a wide range of people, telling the stories of Americans high and low. From political leaders such as Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Martin Luther King, Jr., to CEOs such as Al Dunlap, Bob Galvin, and Andy Grove, to heartland Middle Americans such as airline mechanic Pat O’Neill, software systems manager Kristine Serrano, small businessman John Terboss, and subcontractor Eliseo Guardado, Smith puts a human face on how middle-class America and the American Dream have been undermined. This magnificent work of history and reportage is filled with the penetrating insights, provocative discoveries, and great empathy of a master journalist. Finally, Smith offers ideas for restoring America’s great promise and reclaiming the American Dream. ★ “Who stole the American Dream? The short answer to the question in the title of Hedrick Smith’s new book is: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Wal-Mart. But the longer answer is one heck of a story, told by one of the great journalists of our time . . . [a] sweeping, authoritative examination of the last four decades of the American economic experience . . . Smith [has] extraordinary clarity in describing this sometimes obscured narrative arc.”
— Huffington Post
Now in Paperback Random House ★ TR 978-0-8129-8205-3 ★ 592pp. $18.00/$20.00 Can. Also Available in Hardcover Random House ★ HC ★ 978-1-4000-6966-8 592pp. ★ $30.00/$35.00 Can. To request a review copy email email@example.com Audio DL: 978-0-449-80804-7 $24.00/$28.00 Can. e-Book: 978-0-679-60464-8 $15.99/$16.99 Can. Author Website: www.hedricksmith.com Author videos and interviews: www.tiny.cc/83lvuw Speaking opportunities: email firstname.lastname@example.org Follow: @hedricksmith1
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from Hedrick Smith
For years, hundreds of colleges, university, and high school courses
have used my books, The Russians and The Power Game: How Washington Works, in their courses. Professors and teachers have trusted the quality of my reporting, research, and writing. Students have found my work readable and intellectually engaging. My new book, Who Stole the American Dream?, is especially well suited for university courses and seminars and high school classrooms. It combines on-the-spot reporting and storytelling with academic-level research (more than 1,000 footnotes), making it both authoritative and highly readable. My thematic treatment of American political and economic history from the 1970s to the present would work well in interdisciplinary seminars as well as courses in government, economics, political science, public policy, journalism, and modern American history. In The Russians, I exposed a generation of students to life under Soviet Communism. In The Power Game, I showed another generation how power really works in Washington. Now, I am taking a third generation across America to show how seismic changes, sparked by landmark political and economic decisions, have transformed America over the past four decades. Drawing on fifty years of experience, I have pieced together a revealing and fascinating narrative, starting with Lewis Powell’s provocative 1971 memo that triggered a political rebellion, which permanently altered the landscape of power in Washington. As The New York Review of Books observed, my book provides an important alternative to the conventional, market-based explanation of America’s transformation from the middle-class power and prosperity and political bipartisanship of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, to the gridlocked politics, starkly unequal democracy, and gaping economic inequalities of today. “Hedrick Smith has done it again,” says Harvard Business School Professor Jay Lorsch. “Who Stole the American Dream? provides a readable and comprehensive account of how Americans have been robbed of our dream of a broad middle class over the past forty years. . . . It is essential reading.” Essential for students seeking to understand the evolution of contemporary America. Among other things, my book documents the accidental beginnings of the 401(k) plan, with disastrous economic consequences for millions of Americans; the major policy changes that began under Jimmy Carter (before Ronald Reagan); 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.” I describe the transfer of $6 trillion in middle-class wealth from homeowners to banks before the housing boom went bust, and how the U.S. policy tilt favoring the rich is stunting America’s economic growth. I show how pivotal policies were altered while the public wasn’t looking, how Congress has often ignored public opinion, how America has lost the vital moderate center in politics,and how Wall Street has forged a symbiotic connection with Washington. In lectures, my goal is to connect with college students. On two- or three-day campus residencies, I have enjoyed meeting with classes and student groups, leading discussions, enjoying give-and-take, sharing my reporting and life experience, even answering questions about career advice. These visits constitute my most rewarding experiences touring for the book. I look forward to the opportunity to visit your campus, and to connect with your students. —Hedrick Smith
About the Author:
HEDRICK SMITH is a bestselling author, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, and Emmy Award–winning producer. His books The Russians and The Power Game were critically acclaimed bestsellers and are widely used in college courses today. As a reporter at The New York Times, Smith shared a Pulitzer for the Pentagon Papers series and won a Pulitzer for his international reporting from Russia in 1971–1974. Smith’s prime-time specials for PBS have won several awards for examining systemic problems in modern America and offering insightful, prescriptive solutions.
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