2015 News

Robert Putnam lectures about ‘Our Kids’ on April 15

Robert D. Putnam is famous for his best-selling book “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community,” which warned that Americans were withdrawing from each other and from civic life.

Now he is taking on inequality among children and why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility. On April 15, Putnam will discuss his new book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” at Washington University in St. Louis.

His lecture is a Center for Social Development 20th Anniversary event and is free and open to the public. The event begins at noon in Graham Chapel, with a book signing immediately afterward.

Published this month, “Our Kids” (Simon & Schuster) examines the growing inequality gap in America, which Putnam tells through the stories of rich and poor children from cities and suburbs across the country, including from his working-class hometown of Port Clinton, Ohio.

The book “places brain science, sociology and census data alongside stories of children growing up on both sides of the divide,” The Washington Post reports. Kirkus Reviews calls it “an insightful book that paints a disturbing picture of the collapse of the working class and the growth of the upper class that seems to be largely unaware of the other’s precarious existence.”

Putnam is the Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard and the author of 14 previous books. In addition to teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses at Harvard, Putnam is the co-founder of the Saguaro Seminar, a research initiative that brings together thinkers and practitioners to develop actionable ideas for civic renewal.

Co-sponsors of the April 15 event include the Center for Household Financial Stability of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy; the Ferguson & Beyond Lecture Series; the Department of Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis; the Gephardt Institute for Public Service; and Brown School’s Policy Forum.​