The Road to Whatever

Middle-Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence

Elliott Currie

Picador

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An “energetic,” “provocative,” and “much-needed” investigation of the root causes of the epidemic of drug abuse, violence, and despair among middle-class American teenagers (Los Angeles Times)

     In this groundbreaking book, acclaimed sociologist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie draws on years of interviews to offer a profound investigation of what has gone wrong for so many “mainstream” American adolescents. Rejecting such predictable answers as TV violence, permissiveness, and inherent evil, Currie links this crisis to a pervasive “culture of exclusion” fostered by a society in which medications trump guidance and a punitive “zero tolerance” approach to adolescent misbehavior has become the norm. Broadening his inquiry, he dissects the changes in middle-class life that stratify the world into “winners” and “losers,” imposing an extraordinarily harsh culture—and not just on kids.
     Vivid, compelling, and deeply empathetic, The Road to Whatever is a stark indictment of a society that has lost the will—or the capacity—to care.


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Book Excerpts

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Over and over, the kids I spoke to told me how they had hidden their troubles from adult authorities for years. The only people they talked to "for real," if anyone, were their friends, who were usually kids in the same boat-the ones on the outside, the ones nobody else liked. And so they stewed, their sense of failure and grievance festering. Quite often they tried on new identities, predictably those that combined serious "badness" with great power. Better to be identified as a villain, a monster, or a vampire than just a dumb screw-up; better to be Satan, or Hitler, than a messed-over little

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Reviews

Praise for The Road to Whatever

“Convincing . . . Currie’s argument is just about airtight.”—The Washington Post

“Vivid . . . this book will worry you and make you think hard about the collapse of a caring environment in America.”—Frances Fox Piven

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About the Author

Elliott Currie

Elliott Currie is the author of Confronting Crime, Reckoning, and Crime and Punishment in America. An internationally recognized authority on youth and crime, he is a professor of criminology, law, and society at the University of California, Irvine.

Elliott Currie

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Road to Whatever
Middle-Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence
Elliott Currie

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
December 2005
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780805080001
ISBN10: 0805080007
5 3/4 x 8 15/16 inches, 320 pages
$18.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Metropolitan Books
December 2005
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466833944
ISBN10: 1466833947
320 pages
$9.99
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Picador

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