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Common Reader 2015-2016 Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis: More about the Author

Life events


1941: Born January 9 in Rochester

1963: In 1963, Putnam married his wife Rosemary, a special education teacher and French horn player.

1979: He taught at the University of Michigan until going to Harvard in 1979, where he has held a variety of positions, including Dean of the Kennedy School, and is currently the Malkin Professor of Public Policy.

1995: In 1995 he published '"Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital" in the Journal of Democracy.

2000: In 2000, he published Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, a book-length expansion of the original argument, adding new evidence and answering many of his critics.
2006: In 2006, Putnam was quoted in the Financial Times as saying he had delayed publishing the article until he could "develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity" (quote from John Lloyd of Financial Times).
2007: In 2007 he briefly met Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to discuss the role of civil society in the Libyan political context.
2015: Published Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis.

Researcher of Political Science

Robert David Putnam is a political scientist and Malkin Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also currently serving as Distinguished Visiting Professor at Aarhus University in Denmark, and was formerly a visiting professor and director of the Manchester Graduate Summer Programme in Social Change, University of Manchester. Putnam developed the influential two-level game theory that assumes international agreements will only be successfully brokered if they also result in domestic benefits. His most famous work, Bowling Alone, argues that the United States has undergone an unprecedented collapse in civic, social, associational, and political life since the 1960s, with serious negative consequences. In 2010, he co-published an article in which he noted that the trend had moved the other way; he continued to advocate a push towards more social capital but he felt his famous thesis was no longer true. In March 2015, he published a book called Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis that looked at issues of inequality of opportunity in the US.

Other Works