If you want to raise a healthy and happy family in a rapidly changing world, this book will provide you with copious notes and ideas. Sasse even goes so far as to talk about how to develop a personal syllabus of books to read. But amid his practical advice, Sasse also challenges readers to consider esoteric ideas ... Ultimately, this book has the potential to do what so few books can promise: make you a better person. The Vanishing American Adult, if read widely, would build more thoughtful individuals—which would, if replicated, create a stronger civilization ... a welcome respite from the distraction of our smart phones blowing up over the latest news and scandals plaguing Washington, D.C. Our ongoing struggle in life is how to balance responding to the urgent and devoting time to the important. The Vanishing American Adult is decidedly for people who want to focus on the latter.
It’s a list that could come out of a parenting guide from almost anywhere on the ideological spectrum, and honestly, it’s not a terrible one. Sasse is extremely corny from time to time, but that seems like more of a feature than a bug. He doesn’t pose traditionalism as a new counter-culture because Sasse doesn’t have any interest in being part of a counter-culture. And yet, his fidelity to timeless values feels almost refreshing in a political moment when all the compasses seem to be spinning ... Sasse goes far out of his way to be uncontroversial and extend his appeal across the board. Policy disagreements are reduced to asides, and he spends roughly zero time complaining about Obama ... I’d agree that there is value to midwestern communalist agricultural practices, but to focus on that would require Sasse to consider the social relations of production instead of individual virtue. Easier to say that kids should work harder, like he did, weeding the soybean fields and detasseling corn.
a strange hybrid of a book, part how-to manual, part jeremiad, filled with rambling disquisitions ... All of this makes The Vanishing American Adult both voluble and evasive at once, as Sasse layers tale upon tale, repeats modifiers and metaphors, and serves up bland platitudes without venturing much by way of political specifics. In other words, this is a consummate politician’s book ... To read The Vanishing American Adult is to reside in a parallel universe where older Americans stoically uphold standards of decency and responsibility, instead of electing to the country’s highest office a reality-TV star with six business bankruptcies to his name who brazenly flouts both ... It must be nice to be Ben Sasse, in a position to pick and choose the hardships one will adopt in order to learn some life lessons — and to feel morally superior for having triumphed over phony adversity. But to anyone who buys into the notion, especially now, that the country’s political future can be rescued by getting our toddlers to bring us our socks, one can only say: Good luck with that.