Twenty years ago, eminent Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam wrote the nonfiction book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. In it, he lamented the decline of in-person social discourse, which Americans used to enrich the fabric of our lives. He further went on to say that this decline undermined the civic engagement required in a strong democracy.
Professor Putnam's new book, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again, coauthored by social entrepreneur Shaylyn Romney Garrett, comes at a time of deep and accelerating inequality, unprecedented political polarization, vitriolic public discourse and a fraying social fabric. In a sweeping overview of more than a century of history, drawing on a combination of statistical analysis and storytelling, Putnam and Garrett analyze a remarkable confluence of trends that brought us from an “I” society to a “we” society and then back again. They draw 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.
Come for an important conversation that provides optimism in these challenging times.
Malkin Research Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University; Co-Author, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again; Twitter @RobertDPutnam
Shaylyn Romney Garrett
Social Entrepreneur; Co-Author, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again; Twitter @shaylynromney
In Conversation with David Kennedy
Donald J. McLachlan Professor Emeritus of History, Stanford University
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