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The Next American Dream

05/30/09 4:00PM

This Spring, VPR, in conjuction with American Public Media, brings you the American Radioworks Documentary series that chronicles the struggle to hold on to the American dream. 

This month-long series will air Saturdays at 4:00pm beginning May 9th.


Foreclosure City

Saturday, May 9th at 4pm

Until recently, one of the few places where the American Dream still seemed possible was Las Vegas. Each month, thousands of people flocked there, lured by the promise of good jobs and a chance to own a home. It was the fastest growing city in the country. But now, Las Vegas has a new distinction-the nation's highest foreclosure rate. American RadioWorks looks at the roots and the fall-out of the Las Vegas foreclosure crisis, and tells the stories of residents trying to build new lives, now that their old dreams have failed. 


A Better Life: Creating the American Dream

Saturday, May 16th at 4pm and
Monday, May 25th at Noon

In the current recession many people fear the American Dream of the 20th century will not be sustainable in the 21st. Millions of Americans are slipping from the middle class, and it's no longer certain that savvy, hard-working parents can pave the way for their children's success. As part of American Public Media's "Next American Dream" project, this documentary will chronicle the evolution of the American Dream from the Great Depression to the present day. Today's hard times have Americans once again questioning the future of an ideal that has fueled their aspirations for centuries. 


Bridge to Somewhere

Saturday, May 23 at 4pm

President Barack Obama's plan to create jobs by building infrastructure invites comparisons to another president. Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to manufacture jobs by building bridges, sewers, schools and even ski jumps. Historians disagree about how much FDR's New Deal programs eased the Depression in the short term. But in the long term, the structures they built have had a profound effect on the country's economy. Nearly every county in America contains at least one structure built by the New Deal. This documentary, produced in cooperation with public television's Blueprint America project and WNET.org, takes us to the mountains of Vermont, where a ski industry founded by FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps is now a thriving tourist draw. And it takes us to the Pacific Northwest, where New Deal dams on the Columbia River transformed an entire region. The program combines colorful historical tape with modern-day reporting to create an entertaining and thoughtful look at the long reach of the New Deal. 


Hard Times in Middletown

Saturday, May 30 at 4pm

In 1929 the Rockefeller Institute published a scientific study of a "typical American city." Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture took an intimate look at church, school, family and work in Muncie, Indiana. The book was an instant hit and is still in print. It launched Muncie's reputation as the most widely studied small town in the world. Today Muncie is a rust-belt city grappling with de-industrialization and deepening recession. As they watch the plants close, many middle-class, middle-aged, Middle-American residents are left without choices. This American RadioWorks documentary helps us understand how the economic crisis is affecting the people who defined the American middle class.  



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