The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis — And How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance — Ben Sasse

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(Originally posted on Goodreads on June 1, 2017)

I am admittedly a big fan of Ben Sasse, so I began this book extremely excited, and very quickly I became skeptical of some of Sasse’s ideas, but his logical argument for his ideas was so compelling that I am forced to wrestle with even the most disruptive ones such as his vision of education.

The thesis of The Vanishing American Adult is that somewhere in the last generation or so we have lost some basic building blocks of our society that make functional adults that value work. This is not a “get off my lawn” sentiment, as Sasse says early on, because he sets up and defends his thesis quickly and spends the last two-thirds of the book giving solutions. I particularly enjoyed the section on the importance of reading great books because, well, that’s extremely important to me.

The Vanishing American Adult will be one that I struggle with and return to over time, and I think that’s part of Sasse’s aim. I think the bulk of his argument that American society needs a major change in the adolescent-to-adult culture is absolutely right, and he has some great, if radical, ideas about how to get there. It all sounds so daunting, but if we don’t try to change, who will?

Book-reviewer, AP World History and AP Psychology Teacher. MAT Secondary Social Studies, University of Arkansas. Arlington, TX.

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