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Book details
  • Genre:POLITICAL SCIENCE
  • SubGenre:Economic Conditions
  • Language:English
  • Pages:205
  • eBook ISBN:9780986423826

The American Dream... Or What's Heaven For?

by Michael F. Ford

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Overview
What is the American Dream? The concept is widely discussed by political candidates and in the popular media, but only vaguely understood. The late Michael Ford, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of the American Dream at Xavier University, was uniquely qualified to write this authentic analysis. His book, The American Dream: “Or What's a Heaven For? " was published by Cincinnati Book Publishing in cooperation with Xavier University Center's for the Study of the American Dream. It is a fresh, contemporary look at the American Dream phenomena, which was first popularized by historian James Truslow Adams in the Great Depression era. With the aid original research and survey data, Ford poses questions critical to understanding the nature of the Dream from the authentic point of view of ordinary Americans rather than that of the pundit class. This thought-provoking book, which sums up his findings, offers multi-ple surprises and challenges. The author reveals the popular myths about the Dream, the threats to its persistence, and the reasons that Americans need to sustain it.
Description
What is the American Dream? The concept is widely discussed by political candidates and in the popular media, but only vaguely understood. The late Michael Ford, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of the American Dream at Xavier University, was uniquely qualified to write this authentic analysis. His book, The American Dream: “Or What's a Heaven For? " was published by Cincinnati Book Publishing in cooperation with Xavier University Center's for the Study of the American Dream. It is a fresh, contemporary look at the American Dream phenomena, which was first popularized by historian James Truslow Adams in the Great Depression era. With the aid original research and survey data, Ford poses questions critical to understanding the nature of the Dream from the authentic point of view of ordinary Americans rather than that of the pundit class. This thought-provoking book, which sums up his findings, offers multi-ple surprises and challenges. The author reveals the popular myths about the Dream, the threats to its persistence, and the reasons that Americans need to sustain it. Contrary to popular belief, Ford concluded that the Dream is not material. It is not about be-coming wealthy or acquiring an expensive house or getting the best job. It is about hope, aspira-tion, and the freedom to lead a meaningful life, and to become the person one wants to be. Ford maintains that those who believe in the Dream are quietly but implicitly driven by Robert Browning's poetic question: Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a Heaven for?” The book discusses threats to the Dream, including the shortcomings of American higher educa-tion, the problem of automation and the economy for the future, the decline of the middle class, and the prevalence of civic illiteracy in the American population. Ford concludes that these threats demand national attention if our desire is to remain both a world leader and the Land of Opportunity. He cites America's need to attract new talent from around the globe, and to relent-lessly innovate ideas, products, and processes, while maintaining civility and the rule of law. Ford critiques the misuse of the American Dream by commercial entities, politicians, pundits, and special interest groups. But he questions the wisdom of calling a Constitutional Convention as a cure for some of our current difficulties, including political paralysis in Washington and the gridlock bitterness of divided government. He sees the present as an age of turning inwardness, which favors the personal, private realm to the neglect of the public arena. Ford relates its endurance of the Dream to the resourcefulness and self-confidence of individu-als, traits that persist despite the public's steadily declining confidence in the United States gov-ernment, its officials, and its economic system. This inspiring and provocative study argues that Americans must continually strive, innovate, and dream big dreams to sustain this land as a place where liberty and justice for all is a reality as well as a promise. Ford wrote: "We believe that the American Dream exists, but more, we be-lieve that in America the Dream must exist in order to make sense of our lives in the lofty and dramatic context we have created for America and Americans." Written in a lively, journalistic style, the book measures public confidence in American institu-tions and the faith and fears individuals have in themselves. The book is designed to stimulate thought, discussions, and action. It will be of interest to marketing professionals, educators, civic and corporate leaders, and all those following public policy and political issues such as im-migration and equality of opportunity. It is suitable for study and discussion in classrooms, nonprofit and business organizations, book clubs, and libraries.
About the author
Michael F. Ford is uniquely qualified to offer his insights into the state of the American Dream and its on-going importance to the American character, economy, and spirit. After a long and distinguished career as a national senior political strategist and CEO of his own communications company, Ford returned to his alma mater, Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and founded the Center for the Study of the American Dream. Ford brought to the Center a wealth of experience. He was a veteran of nine presidential campaigns where he held senior management positions; a strategist and advisor to more than 100 gubernatorial, congressional, and mayoral races; an Executive Assistant to the Governor of Ohio; the Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Cincinnati; the Senior Advisor to the Executive Vice President of Internet Operations at Citibank; and the creator of the Affordable Access Trust, which served as the impetus for the creation of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire B Shares. As its Founding Director, Ford led the Center's efforts in generating significant original research and survey data, in order to better identify and analyze shifts in the continued evolution of the American Dream. Under Mr. Ford's leadership, the Center received substantial national attention for its work, including interviews and recognition by Tom Brokaw, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Morning Joe, and Fox News. Other national coverage included USAToday, The Atlantic, US News and World Report, The New Yorker, and the Federal Reserve of Cleveland. Mr. Ford made numerous public appearances, including TV and radio, on the subject of the American Dream. Mr. Ford lectured on the state of the American Dream at the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas; participated in a symposium on “Rekindling the American Dream” at Wake Forest University; and published “Five Myths About the American Dream” for the Washington Post, in an article that served as the groundwork for this book. At the time of his death in late 2013, Mr. Ford had just finished writing this book. With the generous help of the Center and his family, Mr. Ford’s long-awaited analysis of the current state of the American Dream and long-term threats to its continuance is presented here.
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