top of page

Alienated America by Timothy P Carney

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse

2019, Harper

We2 bookclub rates this book:

Christine: This data-driven examination of who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and why, is fascinating and illuminating. The author makes the argument that cultural changes in U.S. society that started in the 1950s — the fall in church attendance, the decline in marriage rates, even the loss of significant numbers of bowling alleys and neighborhood pubs — have led huge segments of the population to feel disconnected from their neighbors, towns, and communities. In other words, these parts of America are alienated, and Trump was able to tap into that alienation to mobilize votes.

Bruce: Carney also strongly makes the point that if people don’t have a social network to support them in times of need, they will come to rely on the government to take the place of the social network. Government then becomes more like socialism than capitalism.



Do you agree that a growing population of Americans are suffering from alienation? What do you think of the author's assessment of the reasons for this alienation?

What do you see as an effective solution?

How has the tech revolution contributed to the problem of alienation?

Is alienation within society a global problem?

What is the role of government?

Does capitalism have limitations?


34 views2 comments


Mar 18, 2021

What did the author claim pushed people to vote for Trump, and who did he say were these people?

I'm not sure I agree about the remark on government taking the place of the social network. I think social media is taking the place of traditional notions of community and that in turn is fostering alienation from neighbors, and family (see the problems with QAnon as a point of dissension in relationships). I also don't know that I buy his argument villainizing the cultural changes leading to the loss of "conservative values"--I'd make the argument that in a lot of places, churches and communities have pushed people (especially young people) away with their refusal to adapt to the modern world.

Mar 18, 2021
Replying to

I'll check in with the We2 bookclub for an answer to your question. Your comments make for a good discussion.

bottom of page