The Road to Whatever

Middle-Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence

Elliott Currie

Metropolitan Books

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From the Pulitzer Prize finalist, a sharp and compassionate investigation of the root causes of the epidemic of drug abuse, violence, and despair among "mainstream" American teenagers

In the past few years, it has become painfully clear that all is not well with the children of middle-class America. Beyond the shootings at Columbine, hardly a day goes by without stories of drug use, binge drinking, fatal accidents, and senseless suicides among middle-class adolescents. But the "why" of these tragedies has eluded us.

In this groundbreaking book, acclaimed sociologist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie rejects such predictable answers as TV violence, permissiveness, and inherent evil. Instead, drawing on years of interviews, he links this crisis to a pervasive "culture of exclusion" that has left young people facing an ever more unforgiving world. Currie describes a society in which severe punishment and "zero tolerance" of adolescent misbehavior have become the norm, where "tough love" and medications have replaced engagement and guidance. Broadening his inquiry, he dissects the changes in middle-class life that have enforced newly rigid divides between winners and losers and imposed an extraordinarily harsh culture-and not just on kids.

Vivid, compelling, and deeply empathetic, The Road to Whatever is a profound investigation of what has gone wrong for so many American teenagers and a stark indictment of a society that has lost the will-or the capacity-to care.

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From The Road to Whatever:

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

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About the Author

Elliott Currie

Elliott Currie is the author of Confronting Crime, Reckoning, and Crime and Punishment in America (0-8050-6016-2). An internationally recognized authority on youth and crime, he is a professor of criminology, law, and society at the University of California, Irvine.

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

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

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
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Metropolitan Books

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