After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics—and How To Fix It

HarperAudio. Aug. 2022. 11:12 hrs. ISBN 9780063077027. $27.99. POL SCI
Pulitzer Prize–winning Bunch (The Backlash) provides an in-depth examination of the state of higher education. The 1944 GI Bill allowed thousands returning from World War II to attend college. The success of these students seemed to indicate that higher education was a “public good” and should be made available to everyone. Schools supported by tax dollars offered college education at a low cost, but Reagan-era tax cuts forced tax-supported colleges and universities to raise tuition. This, in turn, made college unaffordable for many, fueling resentment. Schools began to compete for students who could pay the rising costs. Luxury amenities were added at elite private colleges, and public colleges and universities followed suit as they were able. Meanwhile, big corporations moved manufacturing jobs overseas, leaving few job options for those lacking a college education. The divide between those with or without a college degree widened, fueled by talk radio hosts and political rhetoric. Narrator Fred Sanders puts forth Bunch’s convincing argument that a possible solution to the problem is a program of national service. Sanders’s delivery is engaging, and he delivers the content clearly, with excellent pacing.
VERDICT This book should be required reading for anyone involved in government and higher education. Highly recommended.
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