How Are We Doing?
THE GOOD CITIZEN: A History of American Civic Life.By Michael Schudson. Free Press. 390 pp. $27.50
You don’t have to look hard to find complaints about the decline of American civic life. Voter turnout is down; many voluntary organizations have lost members; people bowl alone rather than in leagues. But in The Good Citizen, sociologist Michael Schudson argues that things may not be all that bad. Drawing on a deep and wide-ranging knowledge of American history, he shows that there was never a golden age of civic participation. In his view, our current civic life is much healthier than the critics suggest.