What We Are Reading Today: The Years That Matter Most by Paul Tough

Updated 20 September 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Years That Matter Most by Paul Tough

The Years That Matter Most tells the stories of students trying to find their way, with hope, joy, and frustration, through the appli-cation process and into college.

Drawing on new research, the book reveals how the landscape of US higher education has shifted in recent decades and exposes the hidden truths of how the system works and whom it works for.

Author Paul Tough takes readers on a journey from Ivy League seminar rooms to community college welding shops, from giant public flagship universities to tiny experimental storefront colleges. 

Tough’s three previous books include How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, which spent more than a year on the New York Times hardcover and paperback best-seller lists. 

In a review for The New York Times, Tara Westover said: “As Tough points out, wealthy universities have wealthy alumni, who, after benefiting from an elite education, are even better positioned to donate large sums of money. This is the final cog in the inequality machine, an intense cycle of wealth concentration.”


What We Are Reading Today: Saving America’s Cities by Lizabeth Cohen

Updated 15 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Saving America’s Cities by Lizabeth Cohen

  • Saving America’s Cities is a dramatic story of heartbreak and destruction but also of human idealism and resourcefulness

Saving America’s Cities is a thoroughly researched biography/history of Ed Logue, a prominent leader in urban renewal and redevelopment.

In Saving America’s Cities, the prizewinning historian Lizabeth Cohen follows the career of Logue, whose shifting approach to the urban crisis tracked the changing balance between government-funded public programs and private interests that would culminate in the neoliberal rush to privatize efforts to solve entrenched social problems. 

A review published in goodreads.com said Logue’s era of urban renewal “has a complicated legacy: Neighborhoods were demolished and residents dislocated, but there were also genuine successes and progressive goals. Saving America’s Cities is a dramatic story of heartbreak and destruction but also of human idealism and resourcefulness.” 

The review said that the book “is a good contrast for those who have read Robert Caro’s The Power Broker, his highly engaging and Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Robert Moses, sometimes called ‘the master builder’ of New York.”