Pastor’s Book Club News

by | Dec 31, 2023

Our companion book for our new worship series is David Leonhardt’s book, Ours was the Shining Future: The Story of the American Dream.

Amazon’s website describes his book this way:

Two decades into the twenty-first century, the stagnation of living standards has become the defining trend of American life. Life expectancy has declined, economic inequality has soared, and, after some progress, the Black-white wage gap is once again as large as it was in the 1950s. How did this happen in the world’s most powerful country? And what happened to the “American dream”—the promise of a happier, healthier, more prosperous future—which was once such an inextricable part of our national identity?

Drawing on decades of writing about the economy for The New York Times, Pulitzer Prize–winning writer David Leonhardt examines the past century of American history, from the Great Depression to today’s Great Stagnation, in search of an answer.

To make sense of the rise and subsequent fall of the American dream, Leonhardt tells the story of the modern American economy as an ongoing battle between two competing forms of capitalism: one that envisions prosperity for most, and one that serves the individual and favors the wealthy. In vivid prose, Ours Was the Shining Future traces how democratic capitalism flourished to make the American dream possible, until the latter decades of the twentieth century when, bit by bit, the dream was corrupted to serve only the privileged few.

Ours Was the Shining Future is a sweeping narrative full of innovation and grit, human drama and hope. Featuring the trailblazing figures who helped shape the American dream—Frances Perkins, Paul Hoffman, Cesar Chavez, Robert Kennedy, A. Philip Randolph, Grace Hopper, and more—this engaging history reveals the power of grassroots democratic movements from across the political spectrum. And though the American dream feels lost to us now, Leonhardt shows how Americans—if they commit themselves to transforming the economy, as they did in the past—have the power to revive the dream once more.

We have a limited number of copies of David Leonhardt’s book. His book was recently published and is available in hardback and electronic formats. The book is 528 pages. And, while Leonhardt is a gifted writer, the subject matter presumes foundational knowledge regarding politics and economics. Fortunately, the writer is able to explain complex topics at a level using language most of us can understand.

Here is the schedule of chapters for our Country Series:

Jan 7 – Chapters Intro – 1
Jan 14 – Chapters 2 – 3
Jan 21 – Chapters 4 – 5
Jan 28 – Chapters 6 – 7
Feb 4 – Chapters 8 – 9
Feb 11 – Chapters 10 – 9 + Conclusion

Our Book Club does not meet as a group. However, our weekly messages reference that weeks chapters. You can anticipate spoiler alerts unless you keep up with the pace. You can purchase your own copy or visit your local library.

You can contact our office with questions, by phone or simply type your question or enter a prayer request on our website’s homepage —

Pastor Tommy

David Leonhardt. Ours was the Shining Future: The Story of the American Dream. New York: Penguin Random House, 2023.

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