In The Abandoned Generation, Giroux goes beyond asking those who are already in the same political camp to agree with his study. Giroux asks everyone to reflect on what has been central to America's beliefs about democracy, question those features in our current society that undermine those beliefs, and envision how we can build on the democratic legacy that made our country great in the first place. Unfortunately, all three of these objectives often require time, deliberation, and explanation beyond the 10-second soundbytes that we get as pre-regurgitated pablum on the daily news and thus might require someone, such as Giroux, to devote his/her time to engaging citizens in thoughts and sentence structures more complex (and interesting) than those we would find in a Jane and Dick book. Time, deliberation, and explanation are, indeed, difficult in our age of quick fixes, and using them is often traded for the ease with which we would rather lay blankets of blame on the most vulnerable parts of the population, as opposed to lifting the reactionary quilts that try to cover the causes of our crisis.
With theoretical rigor, practical examples, such as in the use of Hollywood movies, and a desire for a better world that is steeped in the democratic tradition of thinkers like Jefferson and Dewey, Giroux takes on issues ranging from the continued assault on public schools that is partially backed by Bush's No Child Left Behind testing/choice schemes and the incredibly shrinking democratic functions of higher education to the utter disregard for children and youth, in particular, and public life in general. Further, Giroux uses front-line insights from various fields of study, not just like-minded left-wingers, who are either heavy-handed, academic, or dogmatic. In the least, Giroux offers hope and a map with which we can begin to work ourselves out of the current crisis in our country, and he also demonstrates that it is important that "academics" take on public issues, and that by doing so, "academic" issues can be seen rightfully as matters of public concern and the vitality of our democracy. The Abandoned Generation is a must read for citizens concerned about the safety and well-being of the U.S.-and its children-in this time of economic turmoil and global crisis.