More on the project

Sunday, August 5th, 2012 

Donald Barlett and James Steele's new book, "The Betrayal of the American Dream," was released nationwide on Aug. 1, 2012, by PublicAffairs. You can buy the book in hardcover and e-book from,,, or your local bookseller.

Excerpts from the book have been published on July 29, Aug. 5, 12 and 19 on the Investigative Reporting Workshop's site and the The Philadelphia Inquirer's website. You'll also find Barlett and Steele's previous stories for the Workshop as well as those of other Workshop staffers at

We'd love to hear from you on Twitter or Facebook. For more from the authors, you can watch their video interviews with the Inquirer.

"The Betrayal of the American Dream" is a continuation of Barlett and Steele's legendary book and newspaper series America: What Went Wrong? published by The Philadelphia Inquirer 20 years ago. You can read the original series here.

What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele are revisiting America: What Went Wrong, their landmark 1991 newspaper series, in a new project with the Investigative Reporting Workshop. Over the next year, the project team will examine how four decades of public policy has shaped America's ongoing economic crisis.


Back Story

The authors talk about What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele talk about the project, and why they decided to revisit a book they wrote two decades ago, in a series of video clips produced by the Workshop.

Nation's Story

Who pays the taxes?

Who pays the taxes?

We feature charts, maps, photos and other visualizations that reflect the state of the economy as part of our What Went Wrong project. This column chart shows the growing disparity between what individuals and corporations pay in taxes. In the 1950s, the difference was 22 percent. Recent figures show the difference is 62 percent.

Rags to rags: Economic mobility hard to come by

New Pew Center on States report confirms that moving up the American economic ladder is difficult, even though most people have more income than their parents.

Homelessness takes it toll on Florida's youngest

Florida, as a center of the housing boom, still struggles to recover from the Great Recession. Financial stresses and widespread foreclosures have placed families in precarious situations, resulting in a spike in child homelessness. Susannah Nesmith reports in the Broward Bulldog.

Older workers face challenges in Silicon Valley

An advanced degree and experience in the tech sector should be a ticket to a job in today's economy. But older workers in the heart of the new economy, Silicon Valley, are finding their resume is not the issue. Aaron Glantz reports in The Bay Citizen.

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Read an Excerpt

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

Check out the first chapter of Barlett and Steele's 2012 book here.