The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-Of-Age Crisis--And How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance (Hardcover)

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In a world that is changing pace quicker than most of us feel like we can keep up with it, Senator Ben Sasse asks an important question: when did America forget  to teach our kids the art of self-reliance? This is not a book focused on complaining about the latest generation’s quirks - it’s about our cultural conscience as Americans, built around hard work and determination, how lack of resilience and direction affects not only quality of life but also the larger economy and culture, and how rejecting a lifestyle of leisure and ease actually creates better prepared, thoughtful, and engaged adults. Speaking from his personal life and experiences, Sasse lays out a plan for how to encourage confidence, self-reliance, thoughtfulness, and purpose in America’s next generations. An excellent read regardless of whether you’re 19 or 99, parent or child, liberal or conservative. Available in both eBook and audiobook.

-Recommended by Megan

— From July 2017 Staff Picks



In an era of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and an unprecedented election, the country's youth are in crisis. Senator Ben Sasse warns the nation about the existential threat to America's future.

Raised by well-meaning but overprotective parents and coddled by well-meaning but misbegotten government programs, America's youth are ill-equipped to survive in our highly-competitive global economy.

Many of the coming-of-age rituals that have defined the American experience since the Founding: learning the value of working with your hands, leaving home to start a family, becoming economically self-reliant--are being delayed or skipped altogether. The statistics are daunting: 30% of college students drop out after the first year, and only 4 in 10 graduate. One in three 18-to-34 year-olds live with their parents.

From these disparate phenomena: Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse who as president of a Midwestern college observed the trials of this generation up close, sees an existential threat to the American way of life.

In The Vanishing American Adult, Sasse diagnoses the causes of a generation that can't grow up and offers a path for raising children to become active and engaged citizens. He identifies core formative experiences that all young people should pursue: hard work to appreciate the benefits of labor, travel to understand deprivation and want, the power of reading, the importance of nurturing your body--and explains how parents can encourage them.

Our democracy depends on responsible, contributing adults to function properly--without them America falls prey to populist demagogues. A call to arms, The Vanishing American Adult will ignite a much-needed debate about the link between the way we're raising our children and the future of our country.

About the Author

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse is a fifth-generation Nebraskan. The son of a football and wrestling coach, he attended public school in Fremont, Neb., and spent his summers working soybean and corn fields. He was recruited to wrestle at Harvard before attending Oxford and later earning a Ph.D. in American history from Yale. Prior to the Senate, Sasse spent five years as president of Midland University back in his hometown. As perhaps the only commuting family in the U.S. Senate, Ben and his wife, Melissa, live in Nebraska but are homeschooling their three children as they commute weekly back and forth to Washington, DC.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250114402
ISBN-10: 1250114403
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Pages: 320
Language: English