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Synopsis

What is lost when the best and the brightest are corralled into corporate America, in the debut of a searing, rousing social critic

In this provocative, witty, and revealing polemic, Daniel Brook argues that the exploding income gap--a product of the conservative ascendance--is systematically dismantling the American dream, as debt-laden, well-educated young people are torn between their passions and the pressure to earn six-figure incomes.

Rising education, housing, and health-care costs have made it virtually impossible for all but the corporate elite to enjoy what were once considered middle-class comforts. Thousands are afflicted with a wrenching choice: take up residence on America's financial and social margins or sell out. And it's not just impoverished teachers and social workers, struggling to pay their rent, who are hurt. From the activist who works to give others a living wage but isn't paid one himself, to the universal health-care advocate who becomes a management consultant for Big Pharma, Brook presents a damning indictment of the economic and political landscape that traps young Americans.

When the best and the brightest cannot afford to serve the public good, Brook asks, what are we selling out: an individual's career, or the very promise of American democracy?

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