National Review / Digital
Mobility in America
Economic growth won’t guarantee it


I grew up in an old steel town not far from Cincinnati. It is exactly the kind of place that people have in mind when they talk about the end of economic mobility in America: With bad public schools and businesses closing by the day, Middletown, Ohio, is an awful place to get ahead.

It wasn’t always like this. When my grandparents moved there from the extreme poverty of Appalachian Kentucky, Middletown was a kind of oasis. Lured by the promise of well-paying jobs in the steel mill, thousands reestablished themselves in Middletown. It was ground zero for the American Dream — a home for those willing to strive for a better life. Now Middletown typifies something else: the precipitous decline of economic mobility.

September 2, 2013    |     Volume LXV, No. 16

  • Conservatives got Eisenhower wrong the first time around.
  • The frontier and its absence have both shaped the American imagination.
  • Economic growth won’t guarantee it.
Books, Arts & Manners
  • John Farrell reviews Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, by Stephen C. Meyer.
  • David Pryce-Jones reviews Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, by Scott Anderson.
  • Sarah Ruden reviews The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari, by Paul Theroux.
  • Randy Boyagoda reviews The Dark Road, by Ma Jian.
  • Ross Douthat reviews Elysium.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .