Drawing upon both classical insights and more recent writings, Hearn provides a compelling account of social breakdown in the United States. The book examines the conditions most responsible for the deterioration of social institutions, notably the family, and of communitarian interdependencies,
such as those that support neighborhoods. More specifi cally, Hearn analyzes the defi ning forces of liberal modernity-among them, especially, the market economy (favored by the political right) and the democratic welfare state
(endorsed by the political left)-whose steady expansion has diminished the social contexts that nurture trust, mutuality, and a robust sense of both personal responsibility and social obligation.