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The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) Hardcover – Illustrated, January 12, 2016

4.4 out of 5 stars 374 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"Two years ago a huge book on economics took the world by storm. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century . . . became a surprise bestseller. . . . Robert Gordon's tome on American economic growth stretches to 768 pages and its central message is arguably more important."---David Smith, Sunday Times

"Professor Robert J. Gordon's The Rise and Fall of American Growth is a magisterial volume that will benefit any serious student of economics, demographics or history."---Wendell Cox, New Geography

"This is a book well worth reading--a magisterial combination of deep technological history, vivid portraits of daily life over the past six generations and careful economic analysis. . . . [The Rise and Fall of American Growth] will challenge your views about the future; [and] it will definitely transform how you see the past."---Paul Krugman, New York Times Book Review

"Compulsive reading."---Andrew Hilton, Financial World

"A fantastic read."---Bill Gates, GatesNotes

"One of our greatest economic historians. . . . Gordon's exhaustive research program . . . has knocked me back on my intellectual heels."---J. Bradford DeLong, Strategy + Business

"Robert Gordon's new book on productivity in the U.S. economy, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, is masterful. . . . Gordon skillfully lays out myriad information about the history and trends of productivity. One can learn a great deal."---Edward Lotterman, St. Paul Pioneer Press

"Rich with detailed information, meticulous observations, and even anecdotes and stories . . . a fascinating read."---Ricardo F. Levi, Corriere della Sera

"Gordon's encyclopedic The Rise and Fall of American Growth, a new history of modern U.S. economic life, [is] perhaps the best yet written."---Jonathan Levy, Dissent

"[A]n important new book."---Martin Ford, Huffington Post


"The story of our standard of living is a vital part of American history and is well told in this fascinating book. Gordon provides colorful details and striking statistics about how the way we live has changed, and he asks whether we will live happily ever after. His answer will surprise you and challenge conventional assumptions about the future of economic growth. This book is a landmark―there is nothing else like it." ―Robert Solow, Nobel Laureate in Economics

"A towering achievement that will utterly transform the debate on U.S. productivity and growth. Robert Gordon chronicles the stunning swiftness with which American lives have advanced since 1870, and raises profound questions about whether we have benefitted from one-offs that cannot be repeated. Combining eloquent description with forceful and clear economic analysis, Gordon's voice is gripping and compelling. This is economic history at its best."―Kenneth S. Rogoff, coauthor of This Time Is Different

"The Rise and Fall of American Growth is a tour de force with an immensely important bottom line. It is packed, page after page, with insights and facts that every reader will find fascinating and new. A profound book that also happens to be a marvelous read."―George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics

"Keynes dismissed concerns about economic trends by remarking that in the long run, we are all dead. Gordon turns this upside down by reminding us that we inherited somebody else's long run. If you care about the legacy we will leave future generations, read this richly detailed account of America's amazing century of growth."―Paul Romer, New York University

"Robert Gordon has written the book on wealth―how Americans made it and enjoyed it in the past. If we're going to create more wealth in the future instead of arguing about dividing a shrinking pie, we have to read and understand this book."―Peter Thiel, entrepreneur, investor, and author of Zero to One

"This book is as important as it is unsettling. Gordon makes a compelling case that the golden age of growth is over. Anyone concerned with our economic future needs to carefully consider his argument."―Lawrence Summers, Harvard University

"In The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Gordon looks at the evolution of consumption and the standard of living in the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present day. His work brims with the enthusiasm of discovery and is enriched by personal anecdotes and insights derived over a long and very productive career."―Alexander J. Field, Santa Clara University

"The Rise and Fall of American Growth makes use of economic history to argue that Americans should expect the rate of economic growth to be, on average, slower in the future than it has been in the recent past. Gordon is the most important exponent of the pessimistic view working today and this is an exceptional book."―Louis Cain, Loyola University Chicago

Product details

  • Publisher : Princeton University Press; Illustrated edition (January 12, 2016)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 784 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0691147728
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0691147727
  • Item Weight : 3.13 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.3 x 2.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 374 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
374 global ratings
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unless somebody brings more beer, the party's over
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 14, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars From here on its just stocking-fillers!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read with confidence....
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5.0 out of 5 stars 100% worth the effort to read this vast but very important work
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brave attempt by a brave man....
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