OVERRIDE

The Road to Whatever

Middle-Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence

Elliott Currie

Picador

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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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

Reviews from Goodreads

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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.
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The Road to Whatever

Middle-Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence

Elliott Currie

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Picador

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