| Summary

America: What Went Wrong? The Crisis Deepens

"This groundbreaking book is still the bedrock diagnosis of American inequality. The illuminating and well-documented updates show exactly how prescient Barlett and Steele were when they first warned that deliberate policies were imperiling the American dream of middle-class prosperity. An infuriating but immensely helpful primer on how America can get back on track to serve the great majority of its people." — Diana Henriques, author of the NYTimes bestseller The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust and A First-Class Catastrophe: The Road to Black Monday, the Worst Day in Wall Street History.

"It has been almost forty years since Ronald Reagan, taking the nation's top office, famously declared, "government is the problem," and thus began the great experiment in glorifying private excess over public need. The results are in. We now live in the most extreme period of income inequality in our history, with millions earning a barely livable wage, while the richest just get richer. It wasn't just predictable, it was conclusively predicted by Barlett and Steele thirty years ago. This updated volume not only shows what has happened, it simply and clearly explains why. Let's hope today more are ready to listen. — Mark Bowden, author, Black Hawk Down.

"The 1992 edition of “America: What Went Wrong” was one of the most important works of journalism in the 20thCentury. This updated edition is even more compelling, as it lays bare our nation’s shameful drift over the past three decades to an even more inequitable, unfair and unjust society. Barlett and Steele tell us not only what went wrong, but what’s still going wrong and how only we, the citizenry, can fix it. Let’s hope that this time around, the public and our elected representatives do a better job of listening and responding." — David Boardman, Dean of the Klein College of Media and Communication, Temple University.

"The powerful new book, America: What Went Wrong? The Crisis Deepens, by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, is even more significant and relevant today than it was in 1992 when it was first published. The brilliant, two-time Pulitzer Prize winners have released a terrific, "that was then, this is now" updated throughout edition of their muckraking classic about inequality in America. And it is an absolute MUST read!" — CharlesLewis, Founder, the Center for Public Integrity.

"Reading this brilliant book on the long slow death of the American dream will give you strength to fight for its resurrection," — Tim Weiner, Pulitzer prize-winner author of Legacy of Ashes and The Folly and the Glory.

"The achievement of Barlett and Steele in America: What Went Wrong? can hardly be overstated. I know of no other investigative report that displays a comparable ambition – nothing less than to document the drivers and effects of class warfare (to call it out by name) in the United States. The breadth and depth of the research and the potent clarity of the writing, moving from rending individual stories to crystalline exposition of arcane tax laws, raise the benchmarks for journalism. In this update, Barlett and Steele demonstrate that the trends they mapped in the early 90s have deepened, ruining the lives and futures of the American middle class. The book can be read as an indictment of financiers who looted the country and politicians who paved their path, but its ultimate target is a system, and systems can be changed, as the authors set out in their new epilogue. This book is not only unique, it’s a masterpiece." — Mark Lee Hunter, author, Story-Based Inquiry: A Manual for Investigative Journalists.