Cover Image: Ours Was the Shining Future

Ours Was the Shining Future

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

"Ours Was the Shining Future" by David Leonhardt is a great work of nonfiction that explains the current state of politics, the lack of social cohesion, and economic stagnation. Most of the book was filled with content that I have read about before, but I really enjoyed the way that Leonhardt moved through the last century and finished with the current climate. He really elaborates on the previous strength of labor unions and how wages grew for a long time until the increasingly conservative Republican governments starting around 40 years ago ripped away the social safety nets and the economic regulations that had allowed for the maintenance of a strong middle class. I also enjoyed his explanation of how the Democratic's demarcation as being the party of elite, education, urban dwelling people has created a serious political divide that has pushed the country into two very opposite directions. He does not end the book on a hopeless note though; he believes that the government, especially the Democratic party, has a chance to redeem itself and return to being a party for all people. I definitely recommend this book!

Was this review helpful?

A wonderful book on the economic history of the United States over the past 100 years; in the same vein as hell to pay.

Was this review helpful?

I took an elective in economics in high school after a teacher recommended it. What I most remember was being told that a high national debt was the result of a growing economy, and since it was money we owe to ourselves, we shouldn’t be worried about a high debt.

When I took that class, the economy was still good. My dad had a union job with great benefits. We had two cars and a house in the suburbs. He talked about his international lab at Chrysler, with engineers from India and Lebanon.

But society was also under strain. We watched helicopters flying overhead, taking National Guard to Detroit in ’67. Kids from my high school class went to an antiwar protest and fhad to run from the police. Inflation and lines at gas stations plagued my early marriage, and when we bought a house the mortgage had a 15.5% interest rate. Fast forward to 2008, and when our son graduated from college, it took two years to find a job.

What happened?

David Leonhardt’s take on the American Dream is a comprehensive history of the social and political influences that drove the growth of the middle class and later drove huge business profits at the expense of workers.

Yes, there is a lot of information, but I found it interesting reading.

He breaks the book down into “The Rise” and “The Fall.” A central theme of The Rise is the importance of unions to workers. President F. D. Roosevelt supported living wages and unions. After WWII, business believed that well paid workers was good for the economy, therefore good for business. In The Fall, he shows how the breakdown in society into separate interest groups, especially those with ‘elite’ concerns over working/middle class concerns, impacted politics and the economy, and how social disorder and crime drove people to switch political allegiance.

I found the book to be balanced, engaging, and very informative.

Thanks to the publisher for a free book.

Was this review helpful?