Column: Inequality’s effects on kids

WASHINGTON — It is rare for a work of sociology to leave readers choking back emotion. But Robert Putnam’s "Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis" is sociology as story, as tragedy and as an act of social solidarity. And the more influence this book gains, the more just and generous our country will become.

Putnam’s goal is to reveal the consequences of inequality on kids. This unfairness is rooted in various, interrelated trends: family instability, community dysfunction and the collapse of the blue-collar economy. The result is a growing, class-related gap in social capital between rich and poor.

Putnam’s case-study […]