* AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER *
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing American Adult, an intimate and urgent assessment of the existential crisis facing our nation.
Something is wrong. We all know it.
American life expectancy is declining for a third straight year. Birth rates are dropping. Nearly half of us think the other political party isn’t just wrong; they’re evil. We’re the richest country in history, but we’ve never been more pessimistic.
What’s causing the despair?
In Them, bestselling author and U.S. senator Ben Sasse argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, our crisis isn’t really about politics. It’s that we’re so lonely we can’t see straight—and it bubbles out as anger.
Local communities are collapsing. Across the nation, little leagues are disappearing, Rotary clubs are dwindling, and in all likelihood, we don’t know the neighbor two doors down. Work isn’t what we’d hoped: less certainty, few lifelong coworkers, shallow purpose. Stable families and enduring friendships—life’s fundamental pillars—are in statistical freefall.
As traditional tribes of place evaporate, we rally against common enemies so we can feel part of a team. No institutions command widespread public trust, enabling foreign intelligence agencies to use technology to pick the scabs on our toxic divisions. We’re in danger of half of us believing different facts than the other half, and the digital revolution throws gas on the fire.
There’s a path forward—but reversing our decline requires something radical: a rediscovery of real places and human-to-human relationships. Even as technology nudges us to become rootless, Sasse shows how only a recovery of rootedness can heal our lonely souls.
America wants you to be happy, but more urgently, America needs you to love your neighbor and connect with your community. Fixing what's wrong with the country depends on it.
Republican senator Sasse (The Vanishing American Adult) provides here a common-sense, politically moderate interpretation of America's social and political ills. Drawing from his experience growing up in rural America, Sasse ruminates on the deterioration of community bonds, growing social isolation, and the effects of these trends on American life and political culture. He opines that the collapse of traditional social bonds and community structures in recent decades has created a vacuum that has been filled by "anti-tribes" associations and groupthinks characterized by being "against" ideas, political movements, or groups of people. Sasse also draws from his political career and select social science research (particularly Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone, about the decline of American civic life) to hypothesize that Americans have become politically discouraged and that growing political antagonism and "partisan tribalism" have poisoned our political scene, partly because of the relatively new phenomenon of "polititainment" political news that values entertainment over facts. Sasse doesn't hesitate to criticize his fellow conservative Republicans. The solutions he proposes pulling oneself away from screens to form connections with one's family and neighbors, for instance are overwhelmingly social and personal, rather than political. Sasse's philosophical musings are unlikely to convert many skeptics.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Thank God for the few Good Men that are left in D.C.
If the idea is to actually fix or make adjustments or corrections to what’s killing OUR Country than this is a Book for you, but if you want to continue onward “Comrades” with your revolution in the same vein as all of the proceeding Revolutions that have come before this one in “Modern Times” such as the Bolsheviks Revolution, Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, Hugo Chavez’s Venezuelan Revolution and so on and so forth in order to continue to tear apart the Social Fabric and Witness Firsthand the Destruction of this Great Nation than this Book is definitely NOT for you.
More of the same with a twist
I found a lot of the book to be more of the same things that many are writing about. But the two final chapters were certainly refreshing and I’m glad I continued through.
This Book Decodes America’s Divide And What To Do About It! 🔅
I couldn’t put this book down. In a world of political upheaval, I found “Them” to be a sobering, yet reassuring voice amidst much of the partisan pyrotechnics that is hooking much of the country’s, and the worlds, attention spans. Sasse combines his hometown heart and Senatorial sensibility to present a compelling case that America’s discord is only the symptom of what ails us, but is far from the cause. While I didn’t agree with all he suggests to heal the deep wounds within this democratic republic, he makes a strong argument that what separates us is, in many cases, our digital screens, (the distraction) and underneath that, the dilemma of a deep, existential loneliness.
I never highlighted more sentences in a book than this one.
This book invited me to look at myself in the proverbial mirror, to honestly note my habits, much of them rooted in me occupying my time starring into a screen and ultimately disconnecting me from my family, friends and communities.
“Them” shows me that even though the hate between political parties, whose flames are often fanned by pundits on both the left, right and everywhere in between, it need not be this way. This book is a warning to every citizen that we can continue congesting our collective hearts, feeding on temporarily satisfying junk food fodder, deliciously delivered on a silver platform of our choosing; social, cable, etc. or we can heed the call to re-root ourselves in face to face conversations and connections with others and most importantly, ourselves.