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Bowling Alone: The Collapse And Revival Of American Community Essay

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Bowling Alone: The Collapse And Revival Of American Community  is  written  by Robert D. Putnam. This  book  is  a conceptually learned and clearly evidence focused description of  a  crucial  period in American history. This  book  describes  the  change  in  behavior  of  the  Americans  in   last  25  years.

 The  author  shows,  how  we getting   disconnected  from  family, our  friends,  neighbors, and  losing  our  social life, In  this  book  Putnam explained  how  our  shrinking  network  and  social  interaction  is  creating serious  problems  to  us.

  In  this  book  the  author’s  groundbreaking  work  explains how social bonds are the most  important  factors for  sustaining  a  satisfied  life.

  Until  the publication of this great work,  no  one  has ever  considered  the  harms  of  the  absence  of  the  social  interaction  among our societies.  People   didn’t  even  think  of  the   adverse  affects  of  decreasing  social  life  to  their  own  health.   In  most  of  the  part  of  the part the author claimed the changing  generation  as   the  main  cause  of  the  breaking  societies  in  America.

The  author  cited that  the growing  social-capital  declination threatens our educational performance, safe neighborhoods, democratic responsibilities, everyday honesty, and even our health and happiness.

 The  information collected  by  the  author   was  really  fascinating  and  appreciative.  All  the  facts  and  figure  given  were  placed  along  with  the   evidences.  The  author  has  also  taken  the  help  of  graphs  and  charts  to  attest  his  presentation.  All  these  facts  and  descriptive  data  show  how  people  are  loosing  their  identity  among  social  clubs  and  membership  associations.

The author does seem to provide an explanation for why  we  all  people  wish  to  live  together  in  a  society  creating a  trustworthy  environment.  He explained  the  fact  that , even  after  encountering  and  knowing  every  thing  about  the  disintegrating  society,  Why the Americans  are   not  able  to  reduce  the  barrier  between  us  and  the  society  in   which  we  live.

  In  this  book  the  author  proposed  a solution   for  getting  rid  of  this  crucial  problem,  but  the  explanation  of  the  problem  was  itself  much  more  interesting  than  its  solution.  This  book  brought  the  social  image  of  Robert D. Putnam  is  little  controversies.  This  book  explained  the  democratic  responsibilities  of  the  individuals  living  around  every  one.  The  author  has  taken the Bowling game as the driving metaphor. He even explained the importance of a caring community  in our life and our health. This work of Putnam was considered to be a frame of social problems existing in the current society.

 In  this  book Putnam presented evidences including approximately 500,000 interviews of  people belonging  to  various societies and living standards. The author interviewed them over the last quarter century and showed that, the people have not taken the membership of clubs or societies that often conduct meeting  of their members, the people living in close societies even don’t know their neighbors and arrange meetings with their friends less frequently, and the people are not socializing with their relatives and family members.. He addressed this with the fact that the bowling clubs in America have their members strength rising but the members are not belonging to any established society in the bowling club. they all use to bowl alone.

 Putnam has explained the factors contributing the declination of social gathering events. The author has taken the help of past history of America to express the fact that America has socially reinvented  itself  around 100 years ago and America can regain its social life with few efforts in this direction.

He emphasized on the fact that watching TV for commercial entertainment is the only free time activity that if we perform ,has considerable relations with lower social capital. In this book  the author has introduced some of its interesting beliefs like, joining and participating in one community activity will  reduce the probability to half that you are going to die next year  and like , if we communicate with other person or society, then this act will effectively reduce all forms of social capital by 10%.

 This book is actually a collection of small phenomenon’s symbolizing all the considerable changes in the American societies. This book is rich and dense in  thoughtful facts tending to provoke information about the social and political activities of twentieth-century Americans. The content presented inside the book presents a  powerful argument  in an expressible and readable way this book is important because you don’t often hear an academic say those sorts of things.

 The theme of the book  does not emphasize on the bowling static’s rather it pointed on the declining participation of common man in various social and cultural acts. One can take it as ,in the tribal communities the relationship among the people is base on the trust they have on each other. The author claimed the  frequent communication as the base strength of this trust. The biggest drawback in the American societies is the fact that there is no platform for conducting communication meets among the people and every one use to suspect on other as they don’t know each other. As people know each other, they became agree among themselves over any critical issue.

 The book Bowling Alone provides significant and new data on the trends in social engagement and social capital. It is performing a revision of analysis for the causes of the decline in social gathering. They clearly elaborated the future consequences, and ideas about the out coming of our present society. The book will not conclude or stop the debate over social value of an individual but still it is a waking alarm to our sleeping morals towards our society.

 In Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam tells that America’s social capital is decreasing effectively since the 1960’s. The presence of massive amounts of data to back up his claims was the complimenting factor because, it reduced the no of pages to be used for appendices for a book with 500 pages. Putnam marked all his point with out any ambiguity, and the content doesn’t seem boring due the presences of historical evidences. The other reason bringing the interest or reader would be the sincere concern of the topic with society’s social fabric.

After reading this realization of an upsetting fact takes place. The Americans are breaking their threats to their social duties. In the present day situations diversity in population is increasing which is a supportive cause for disintegration in the society. The author covered many frightening facts. The author evidenced that thought the 20th  century, more and more Americans were joining clubs and social societies and were having dinner parties, volunteering, working on political campaigns. This all continued till the 1970’s. After 1970’s the willingness of  participation suffered a sharp decline and is still going on.

 The author has presented few causes like, the indulgence of women in work force, the raised racial discrimination, the internet entertainment, the work schedules and of course the generation gap. Author claimed that, the people who are having a social life are more likely to be considered as a valid volunteer, having a huge friend circle, as safe neighbors, as money makers etc. The author attempted and succeeded in giving remarkable and acceptable results derived from diverse sectors of American society for his hypothesis. All the data he presented fits the model of declining social interactions. At some places it comes to you like that the author is giving privilege to several communities. The author didn’t address the importance of virtual community.

 There are many people who believe that, it’s too hard to indulge themselves in social activities but the author has presented the material in such a way that people with such thinking will surely get some solutions. Putnam explained that if we redevelop our social capital the many of the problems being faced by America would be eliminated. The author also explained the causes of some disappointing activities like teen pregnancy, widespread depression, increasing suicide rates etc. No one among was going to point out these dysfunctions in our own society, but Putnam did.

 The language used by Putnam was not of academic sociology. After reading this book we can say that the author was really strong at elaborating the truth but he was not that skilled to explain it more clearly.. Well after reading it many people would think of living in a community than living alone in their lives. The author didn’t blame the changing personal cultural attitudes though they are also the causes of disintegration in our society.

 The author’s main message reached too many people and now it’s totally on them, how to react over it. Many of the people, who read this book just after it was published i.e. 7 years ago, would be searching the results in American societies. This book is very good for them who, want to increase their community relationship and are searching new ways to do that. Putnam assures the reader that there are hopes for rebuilding the old America. The book was really interesting and if some one asks me about it, I will surely recommend this book to him.

About the author:

Robert David Putnam was born in 1941 at Port Clinton at Ohio. He is a political scientist and professor at Harvard University. He is also a visiting professor and Director of the Manchester Graduate Summer Program in Social Change., at University of Manchester (U.K.). Robert D. Putnam graduated from Swarthmore College in 1963. He completed his Masters and Doctorate from Yale University. He also worked as dean of the Kennedy School. He is currently the professor of Public Policy.

Work Cited Page

Putnam, Robert D. (2002), Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American,         

        New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN: 0743203046

 Blessed unrest: How the largest movement in the world came into being and why no one saw it coming is written by Paul Hawken. It was released in the year 2007. It was published by Penguin Group USA. In this book the author talks about the largest social movement in all of human history. There are many key points about which author mentioned. He says we have the capability of changing the world. But the main point is that we have to combine our energy and efforts in the one direction. The humanity is good by nature, it the people who change. He says the earth is full of loving and caring people who want to change the world. They want to give new life to the mother earth, wants to restore it. We are the part of the earth’s immune system.

Blessed unrest tells us about the world’s largest movement. This movement was unseen by the media and the politicians. Hawken is a dedicated environmentalist who has dedicated more than a decade researching the organizations, which are devoted in restoring the environment. He also investigated the organizations, which dedicated in bringing the social justice. These all organizations together contribute to the largest movement on earth. This movement is organizing itself from bottom to up.

This movement has no name, no location, and no head. Since all organizations are different but they all have same purpose, revealing the environment and bringing the social justice. And taking all organizations together, that makes it the largest movement on earth. This movement is emerging as remarkable and creative expression of people’s needs across the world. According to this book we can easily change the world but all we need is unity and efforts in the right direction.

The people who want to change the world are not the billionaires and millionaires but the ordinary people like us who love the mother earth. The author has done a great amount of research for writing this book because after reading it, his knowledge seems to very deep. He has made the invisible points visible.

There are several things going in our society some in negative way, which needs to be curbed, and some in the positive way, which needs to be encouraged, so the author has made these invisible happenings visible. This book is very wise, perceptive and sober. But above all these points this book provides us a ray of hope. It’s never too late. Author has an extraordinary perception that can look all the things going around far better than us.

There are two remarkable developments in our history. First, the problems that is systematic and global in scope. And second, the emerging revolution that is worldwide and determined to change the world. It is full of hope, that someday and someway we all together make the remarkable difference. That is to heal the wound of the earth.

It is the story of what is going right in the world and how people redefine their relationships with the environment by using their imagination, their beliefs and resilience. They are emphasizing more on what is right. We all are easily attracted to the stuff, which is considered wrong. But this book is emphasizing more on the positive side. That is why this book provides us a ray of hope. This book is a guide for all that is possible.

The author addressed humans as killers of the mother earth. These words are very true because, the earth is not dying; it is being killed by people like us, who always put their own interest before.

The today’s media cover all the negative aspects of the society, but it more often it does not show the positive aspects of the society, which by the way in today’s world more should be shown. Take an example of television or the newspapers they are full of violence, war, destruction of the environment and the society. The channels are flooded with these things. It is a human tendency that we believe on what we see. Therefore what we see describes the ugly face of society and hence we rarely have hope. In Paul Hawken’s, Blessed Unrest we the readers find out about a hope, which we did not even know existed.  He shows all good things with the help of bad things, but still, he is showing us good.

The rising issues of today’s world is hunger, deforestation, human rights, global warming. These all issues are handled by the civil society.

There is a point in the book. We can easily find out that how the person is going to treat an environment by just observing his or her personal relationships or vice versa. Because the mentality of a person can be judged easily by, observing either of the things.

 Do we know how many organizations are working for saving our environment or in any progressive cause? Hawken points out that there are nearly one or maybe two million organizations working for the social justice and revitalizing our environment. Since this figure is large and it is growing therefore it is called the largest movement on the planet earth. It is the largest as well as fastest growing movement in the world. The functional aspect of these organizations is far more mysterious than it looks. The working of these organizations is unseen by media, politicians and even us. The working is subtle.

Paul Hawken also discusses his new project in this book. The name of the project is Wiser Earth. This project puts pressure on the issues like jobs, poverty, global warming etc. These are the issues, which the government has failed to do. Hawken has created a global database of the organizations and spend years on researching these facts. After researching all these facts he came to the conclusion that this is the largest movement on the earth.

We do not know how it is going to end but we do know that is definitely going to make the change. Because there are millions of people who are dedicated to make the change, and wants to restore this world, which has been so much polluted and corrupted so far. In the coming years we all are going to see the remarkable change.

Again this book is about what is going right in this planet. We all know that wrong is addictive, but right is where the movement is.

This book is a about a movement that no one has noticed, not the people who are actually working for it. These people includes a range of desperate workers who may define themselves as environmentalists or who might not define themselves as anything  but these are the people who are actually fighting against the social as well as environmental issues. It is true that, some wealthy or simply billionaires working hard and supporting these organizations.

We just want make progress in life without knowing this fact that our progress hurting our environment. The high technology, depleting resources, polluted earth are the major concerns. The book also says that we must look to the brighter side but keeping in mind that our progress is hurting somebody. This book is about looking the half glass full. It is a vision for the future.

There are many people in this world who are uneducated. Several people in this world sleep with their empty stomach. But, keeping all these things aside if the parents feed there offspring’s and educate them, and then we can easily comprehend that something big is in operation. Despite of these burdens they grow and not only the poor but all the races and classes across the world. This thing favors the movement very much.

It is also about the people who dare to face or challenge the corporate world. To those people also who harms the environment for their own interest. Well it takes lots of courage. And these people are of course setting a very good example in front of us. It is like awakening of the human spirit. It would definitely be going to encourage millions of people. It will also going to encourage those people also who wants the positive change but due to some reasons maybe fear have been reluctant so far. It is like the beam of light in the dark room. And the action has replaced the talk. This book can be called as first full account of the real news. And the fact that needs to be praised is that it not only consists of billionaires and millionaires but also ordinary and simple people like us. It is a soulful, beautiful book full of revealing energy.

Of course this movement does not have any name. But, it is actually taking place invisible and together. Many books describe the world and the current situation, which breaks our heart. But, this book invokes the heartbreak from which light pours. The author is amazingly well informed and knowledgeable. Every compassion and driven soul, who reads it, will be stunned by the scope and power. Author is at the top of his story – telling.

After reading this we regain a sense of optimism, which is very good for our grandchildren. It gives the clear direction in which humankind is moving for its survival. The author has found amazing pattern of defining all these things, which are going around us. And, amazingly, this pattern is so simple and lucid. We can easily see with the help of the author’s eyes. It takes the lot of courage to tell the hard truth, but author has described it in such a beautiful way that every soul that reads it will become full of optimism and hope.

About the author:-

Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and best-selling author of six previous books. He is the architect and leading proponent of reform with respect to ecological practices. He is currently operating the nonprofit organization.

He provides the very good insight about the entire world to be connected. We can also say that it is the far more powerful tool than Internet for connecting the entire world. It is like a family of millions of people with one goal and one direction. This book is like a boom in the market, which is full of energy and provides the lot of hope. This book makes the lot of contribution to the society and its development. It wakes up the dying soul.

Work Cited Page:


Hawken, Paul (2008), Blessed unrest: How the largest movement in the world came      

        Into being and why no one saw it coming, New York:  Penguin Group USA.

 ISBN: 0143113658

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