By Jim Cullen
“The American Dream” is one of the most familiar and resonant phrases in our national lexicon, so familiar that we seldom pause to ask its origin, its history, or what it actually means. In this fascinating short history, Jim Cullen explores the meaning of the American Dream, or rather the several American Dreams that have both reflected and shaped American identity from the Pilgrims to the present.
The American Dream: A Cultural History (2002)
By Lawrence Samuel
There is no better way to understand America than by understanding the cultural history of the American Dream. Rather than just a powerful philosophy or ideology, the Dream is thoroughly woven into the fabric of everyday life, playing a vital role in who we are, what we do, and why we do it. No other idea or mythology has as much influence on our individual and collective lives. Tracing the history of the phrase in popular culture, Samuel gives readers a field guide to the evolution of our national identity over the last eighty years.
The American Dream in the 21st Century
By Sandra Hanson (Editor) and John White (Editor)
The American Dream has long been a dominant theme in U.S. culture, one with enduring significance, but these are difficult times for dreamers. The editors of and contributors to The American Dream in the 21st Century examine the American Dream historically, socially, and economically and consider its intersection with politics, religion, race, gender, and generation. The conclusions presented in this short, readable volume provide both optimism for the faith that most Americans have in the possibility of achieving the American Dream and a realistic assessment of the cracks in the dream.
The American Dream — Or What’s a Heaven For?
By Michael F. Ford
The Founding Director of the Center for the Study of the American Dream analyzes the state of the American Dream and the threats to its continuance.
Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes (2014)
By Mark Robert Rank and Thomas A. Hirschl
The United States has been epitomized as a land of opportunity, where hard work and skill can bring personal success and economic well-being. The American Dream has captured the imagination of people from all walks of life, and to many, it represents the heart and soul of the country. In Chasing the American Dream, leading social scientists Mark Robert Rank, Thomas A. Hirschl, and Kirk A. Foster provide a new and innovative look into a curious dynamic — the tension between the promise of economic opportunities and rewards and the amount of turmoil that Americans encounter in their quest for those rewards. The authors explore questions such as:
Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis (2016)
By Robert D. Putnam
It’s the American dream: get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success. This is the America we believe in—a nation of opportunity, constrained only by ability and effort. But during the last twenty-five years we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. Americans have always believed in equality of opportunity, the idea that all kids, regardless of their family background, should have a decent chance to improve their lot in life. Now, this central tenet of the American dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was. Robert Putnam offers a personal but also authoritative look at this new American crisis.
Who Stole the American Dream? (2013)
By Hedrick Smith
A reporter looks at how landmark political and economic decisions have transformed America.