Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation

Jennifer L. Hochschild, Author Princeton University Press $72 (415p) ISBN 978-0-691-02957-3
Drawing on a rich lode of polling data, policy studies and popular journalism, Hochschild, professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton, probes the essential questions suggested by this book's title. She focuses on the dichotomy in which whites increasingly feel racial discrimination is ``slight and declining,'' while blacks believe the opposite. Both blacks and whites value the American dream; both groups believe that hard work should bring success. Paradoxically, the growing black middle class--in part, because of reality's failure to live up to the high expectations inspired at the peak of the civil rights movement--is more skeptical of the dream than poor blacks. However, the author observes that many poor African Americans ``only sort of'' believe in the American dream, while many of the ``estranged poor''--her preferred term for the ``underclass''--reject it. She notes that most of the oft-stigmatized white immigrants from 1880 to 1920 were transformed by civic tides into believers in the dream. Without new politics to alleviate race and class injustice, she warns, we face abandonment of the dream, perhaps leading to a formalization of American hierarchy and a separatist black nationalism. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/21/1995
Release date: 08/01/1995
Show other formats
Paperback - 440 pages - 978-0-691-02920-7
Acrobat Ebook Reader - 978-1-4008-0372-9
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.