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The Road to Whatever: Middle-Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence

An “energetic,” “provocative,” and “much-needed” investigation of the root causes of the epidemic of drug abuse, violence, and despair among middle-class American teenagers (Los Angeles Times)     In this groundbreaking book, acclaimed sociologist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie draws on years of interviews to offer a profound investigation of what has gone wrong for so many “mainstream” American adolescents. Rejecting such predictable answers as TV violence, permissiveness, and inherent evil, Currie links this crisis to a pervasive “culture of exclusion” fostered by a society in which medications trump guidance and a punitive “zero tolerance” approach to adolescent misbehavior has become the norm. Broadening his inquiry, he dissects the changes in middle-class life that stratify the world into “winners” and “losers,” imposing an extraordinarily harsh culture—and not just on kids.     Vivid, compelling, and deeply empathetic, The Road to Whatever is a stark indictment of a society that has lost the will—or the capacity—to care.“Convincing . . . Currie’s argument is just about airtight.”—The Washington Post“Vivid . . . this book will worry you and make you think hard about the collapse of a caring environment in America.”—Frances Fox Piven

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