The Vanishing American Adult

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Vanishing American Adult is a 2017 book by United States Senator Ben Sasse published by St. Martin's Press.[1]

In the book, Sasse describes Americans as “a drifting and aimless people — awash in material goods and yet spiritually aching for meaning.” He calls on parents to take control of their children's education and argues that children need to learn to work hard, resist consumerism, read widely, and live for a while in a place different from their home, although it need not be far from home.[2][3]

Sasse has denied that The Vanishing American Adult is a campaign book in the lead-up to the 2020 Presidential election.[2]


In The Atlantic, Emma Green describes The Vanishing American Adult as a "serious new book" arguing that, "Americans have lost their sense of personal integrity and discipline. For the country to deal with the troubles ahead—including automation, political disengagement, and the rise of nativist, huckster politicians, he says—people must recover their sense of virtue. The republic depends on it."[4]

In National Review, Michael Shindler argues that the book perpetuates a “secularized creed of puritan industriousness” and claims that Sasse’s injunction to “Work first, play later; and limit your play as much as necessary to get back to bed to be able to work first thing again tomorrow” is indicative of an “austere economic theology” in which “labor itself is alienated from its fruits.”[5]

This book has been criticized for its lack of research and empathy regarding its commentary on the firing of Talia Jane from Yelp for her open letter to the CEO requesting a living wage. One argument is that this reading of Jane’s experience, and the lack of critical reading of Stefanie Williams's response[6] used in the book, is a disregard of what it means to be a historian, much less a politician.[7]


  1. ^ Nordlinger, Jay (11 October 2016). "An Adult among Us". National Review. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b Scherer, Michael (5 May 2017). "Ben Sasse Explains Why His New Book Is Really, Truly Not About Running for President (book review)". Time magazine. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  3. ^ Riley, Naomi (6 April 2017). "Lots of Sasse (book review)". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  4. ^ Green, Emma (29 May 2017). "The Disappearance of Virtue From American Politics". The Atlantic. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  5. ^ Shindler, Michael (4 May 2018). "Bernie Sanders's Make-Work Guarantee". National Review. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  6. ^ "29-year-old millennial rips 25-year-old Yelp employee who got fired after complaining about her salary". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  7. ^ O'Brien, Daniel. "How These 'Entitled' Millennials Want Jobs That 'Pay'". YouTube. Cracked. Retrieved 7 September 2017.

External links[edit]

  • Weekly Standard book interview , "A Conversation with Ben Sasse," May 8, 2017