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American Breakdown by Gerard Baker
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American Breakdown

Why We No Longer Trust Our Leaders and Institutions and How We Can Rebuild Confidence

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Narrator Ian Russell

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Length 8 hours 53 minutes
Language English
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From the former editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, a must-read account of how America suffers from a “trust deficit” that has weakened its cornerstone institutions and divided our society.
 
AMERICAN BREAKDOWN dissects how, in the space of a generation, the pillars that sustained the once-dominant superpower have been dangerously eroded. From government to business, from media to medicine—the strength and security of the American experiment have been weakened by a widening gap between the elites who control these institutions and the public.

At the root of this breakdown is a precipitous fall in Americans’ trust in their political, business and cultural leaders. As Baker writes, “This pathology of distrust across American society is eating the country away from the inside.” Millions of Americans say they have little faith in their country's future, and no longer seem to have trust in their leaders, in their important social and civil institutions, even in their common values and ideals, or ultimately in each other.

America in fact hasn’t failed. Americans have been failed—misled by inept and deceitful political leaders, deserted by predatory and cynical corporate chiefs, and, above all, betrayed by a cultural elite that has exploited the very freedom this country provided in order to destroy it.

AMERICAN BREAKDOWN is a deep analysis and thought-provoking account that explores the ways in which Americans have been let down and offers solutions for how we rebuild trust and reclaim purpose for a better future.

Gerard Baker was Editor in Chief of the Wall Street Journal between 2013 and 2018. He is now the Journal’s Editor at Large, writing the weekly “Free Expression” column for the paper and hosting a podcast of the same name. He also writes a weekly column for the Times of London, is a regular commentator on Fox News, and appears on a range of national and international media. In a career in journalism that spans more than three decades he has also worked for the BBC and the Financial Times.

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Reviews

“Well, this is the one I’ve been waiting for: a truly fresh and compelling account of what’s gone wrong in America over the past twenty years from someone who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the failures of the people in charge—because he’s seen it from the inside, as editor of the Wall Street Journal and now the masterful chronicler of the arrogance, hubris, and sheer incompetence of our ruling class. Baker vividly explains how collapsing trust in the key institutions of American life is at the root of the nation’s political and social turbulence. Only when the elites who have led the country astray through ideological extremism and reckless mismanagement acknowledge the vast gulf between themselves and the people can trust be restored. If you want to understand how America recovers its soul, you need this book. Not least because it’s also a brilliant read.”—Steve Hilton, Fox News contributor “America in fact hasn’t failed. Americans have been failed—by lying politicians, phony executives, woke academics, and activist scientists. That's the argument of Gerry Baker’s AMERICAN BREAKDOWN, an immigrant journalist’s passionate J’accuse against this country’s elites. It’s a book about two decades of declining public trust in just about every institution. But it has a hopeful message. The extremists in the culture war have fewer followers than social media might suggest. Like past periods of polarization and distrust, this breakdown, too, shall pass.”—Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and author of Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe “Baker masterfully unpacks Americans’ growing distrust in their institutions with a compelling breakdown of the many ways societal leaders have destroyed their credibility—and the continued threat from today’s Davos Men and Little Maoists. AMERICAN BREAKDOWN makes the persuasive case that distrust is at the heart of so much U.S. dysfunction, even as it offers a critical guide to how we rebuild that social capital.”—Kimberley Strassel, Wall Street Journal columnist and author of The Biden Malaise Expand reviews