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  • Writer's pictureDonald Iannone

Book Summary: America's Dream at a Crossroads

Updated: Jul 13

My Book is Dedicated to Hon. George V. Voinovich,

Book Summary

America's Dream at a Crossroads, The 2024 Presidential Election and Beyond argues that the American Dream should be the defining issue in the 2024 presidential election and remain a major focus beyond the election. The book shows how major issues facing America today, such as the economy, immigration, race relations, education, and global affairs, are intrinsically linked to the American Dream and Americans' ability to pursue and achieve it.

The book's key elements are a comprehensive definition of the American Dream, tracing its history, and exploring the underlying philosophy and ideology that sustain it. It delves into economic perspectives on the Dream, examines state and local perspectives, and situates the Dream within global realities. The book scrutinizes government spending's impact on the Dream and assesses President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump as potential future leaders of this vision.


Furthermore, it positions the American Dream as the pivotal issue for the election and proposes a detailed agenda and strategy to advance the Dream in the post-election landscape. In the words of Dr. Lloyd Williams, Chief Academic Officer at Transcontinental University, "Don's Twelve-Point Strategy provides a bold but clear-minded approach to averting the 'systemic collapse' of the Federal Government and the American political process while at the same time offering a well-reasoned strategy for advancing the American Dream."

The author, Don Iannone, has worked in economic development and public policy over the past four decades. He has testified before Congress and several state legislatures and has spoken widely on challenges and opportunities facing American communities, businesses, and people. Since 2020, he has taught business students worldwide how to succeed in business and entrepreneurship, many based in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. His work with over one hundred public and private sector clients, including several Federal agencies, has helped advance the American Dream through economic development strategies and public policies. Don wrote this book because he believes America has lost track of its core calling as a land of freedom, opportunity, progress, and hope. This book argues that in the future, the American Dream must be embraced in more inclusive, equitable, and global terms.

Twelve-Point Strategy for Averting the Systemic Collapse of America's Political System and Advancing America's Dream


  1. Campaign Finance Reform: Implement strict limits on contributions, establish public funding options, ensure full disclosure and transparency, regulate dark money, and reform Super PACs to restore integrity and public trust in the democratic process.

  2. Curtail Special Interest Lobbying: Reduce the undue influence of special interest groups, restrict lobbying activities, enhance transparency, ban lobbyist campaign contributions, and promote ethical lobbying practices.

  3. Cultivate a Third Political Party: Implement electoral reforms, ensure equal media coverage, guarantee third-party candidates' inclusion in major debates, and build a supportive infrastructure to enhance democratic representation and reduce polarization.

  4. End Celebrity Politics: Shift public discourse and media coverage towards candidates' qualifications and policies, launch nationwide voter education campaigns, promote responsible journalism, and regulate campaign practices to restore a focus on effective governance.

  5. Major Government Reform: Conduct comprehensive audits, modernize technology and infrastructure, establish a task force for waste reduction, and increase transparency and accountability to improve government efficiency and restore public trust.

  6. Reduce the Federal Debt: Reducing the government's $35 trillion debt is essential to averting the systemic collapse of the Federal Government. This book provides an approach to achieving that.

  7. Bring About Greater Transparency: To build public trust and prevent corruption, mandate the publication of government data, strengthen protections for whistleblowers, require regular public reporting from all branches of government, and enhance oversight and accountability.

  8. Increase Standards of Accountability: Establish independent oversight bodies, implement regular performance reviews, mandate ethics training, and promote a culture of integrity to ensure government officials adhere to ethical and legal standards.

  9. Integrated Strategy for Domestic Affairs: Align education with future economic needs, ensuring improved access to affordable healthcare, promoting innovation and job creation, and balancing economic growth with environmental protection to create a sustainable and prosperous future for all Americans.

  10. Integrated Strategy for Foreign Policy and Global Relations: Redefine relationships with global partners, lead in advanced technologies, promote global environmental sustainability, and implement comprehensive immigration reform to enhance national security and uphold humanitarian values.

  11. Adopt Complex Systems Approaches in Governance: Complexity science helps us transcend the limitations of simplistic reductionistic thinking and action. Fostering innovation, implementing adaptive policies, creating flexible and responsive policies, acknowledging interconnectedness in policy development, building resilient systems, and promoting continuous learning to manage modern society's dynamic and interconnected challenges.

  12. Strategic Investment Plan to Advance the American Dream: Foster next-generation partnerships in education, healthcare, economic development, and social mobility, emphasizing innovation, entrepreneurship, and community-driven initiatives to enhance opportunities for all Americans without fostering dependence on government subsidies.

Here is what early reviewers are saying about the book:

I. Book Reviews

A. Reviews and Endorsements

"Don Iannone's America's Dream at a Crossroads masterfully captures the stark contrasts between the attainable American Dream of the 1950s and 1960s when I grew up in Licking County, Ohio, and the harsh realities today's working families face. With insightful analysis and a compelling call to action, Don outlines the urgent steps America's next President and the Federal Government must take to restore hope and opportunity for all. This book is essential reading for the Biden and Trump policy teams because it points them in the right direction in fixing our government and strengthening the American Dream."

~Jeffrey A. Finkle, CEcD, Executive in Residence, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, Ohio University, and former President and CEO, International Economic Development Council, Washington, DC

“A long-awaited primer for every voter on the American Dream and why it is the defining issue for the 2024 Presidential Election and America beyond the election. Don Iannone holds Joe Biden’s and Donald Trump’s feet to the fire on why their top priority must be reviving and reimagining the American Dream for all Americans.”

~Dr. Lloyd Williams, Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer, Transcontinental University, Tuskegee, Alabama

“The American Dream is a beacon of hope and promise and the spark that ignites hunger for what is possible. However, it is in danger today! Don Iannone delivers the formula for keeping it alive and igniting a rebirth of what has made this country great. Read this to nourish your patriotic spirit and understand why it matters.”

~Don Allen Holbrook, Ph.D., Economist, best-selling author, Las Vegas, Nevada

“What timing! Don’s insightful take on today’s America is spot on. His book America's Dream at a Crossroads should be mandatory reading for every high school and university student. Every politician at every level of government should also read it with an open mind to understand what all Americans want more than anything: An America that will protect democracy and freedom forever!”

~Donald Jakeway, Emeritus Board of Directors, Pro Football Hall of Fame, and former Director, Ohio Department of Development, Columbus, Ohio

"Don Iannone's reimagined American Dream is not a repudiation of prosperity but an expansion of its meaning. In this new vision, the pursuit of wealth is balanced with cultivating well-being, a holistic picture of success that includes health, education, environmental stewardship, and community connection. I encourage voters to read Don's book, and hopefully, the campaign teams for President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump read and take Don's advice to heart."

~Paul Raetsch, Former Regional Director, Philadelphia Office, U.S. Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Don Iannone’s book is a realistic, poignant, and powerful examination of why the American Dream needs to be revitalized in our political ideology and national economic perspective. Equally important is ensuring that this dream continues to offer individuals and families security and remains within reach for future generations. The book is exceptionally well-researched, data-driven, and analyzed with clarity and significance, addressing our present-day social and political polarization. "America's Dream at a Crossroad" is an excellent resource for voters, students, and elected officials. This is a must-read now more than ever!

~Nick Bayat, Ed.D., University of Pittsburgh Study Council Consultant and retired Superintendent of Schools, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

"For any anxious voter concerned about the future of democracy, Don Iannone’s book serves as a crucial guidepost to revisit and reignite our understanding of the American Dream. Don eloquently reminds us why this dream is more important than ever, especially in today's turbulent times. More importantly, he offers a robust plan with sensible strategies to avert our nation's systemic political collapse and advance the American Dream for future generations."

~Kirstin S. Toth, Consultant to philanthropy, education, executive management, and former Senior Vice President of the GAR Foundation, Hudson, Ohio

"At a time in history characterized by ‘This side or that side’ or ‘Your view is not my view, so it’s wrong’ ... 'America's Dream at a Crossroads' helps us see things from all sides. It helps us look at the bigger picture and balances our thinking. The American Dream is the main character of the story. Don helps us understand why we should care about her deeply—and highlights our need to see her through a comprehensive, objective lens."

~ Craig James, Co-managing Partner, CatalystStrategies LLC, Fairlawn, Ohio.

B. Scholarly Review

Don Iannone brings his varied, rich, and deep background to examining the American Dream in the current political context. He develops a comprehensive notion of the various conceptions of the elusive yet absolutely necessary American Dream. The Dream, which I capitalize in recognition of its importance to how Americans behave and see the world, is the centerpiece for a nation whose citizens are politically defined. As a nation, we are constituted by our political heritage. Immigrants are naturalized via a civics test (which many native-born citizens may not be able to pass). This recognizes that we, as a nation and citizens, are political creations, reflecting the Constitution and other founding and revered political documents. We are not an ethnic, religious, ideological, or otherwise constituted people. These foundations create and express the American Dream, centered on core values of freedom, liberty, and a self-defined life, echoing Jefferson’s notion of the “pursuit of happiness.”

Iannone’s book is a two-part examination of the Dream and the current context, with concluding recommendations to improve our politics and governance. While Iannone does not explicitly divide the book into two parts, it is useful to recognize the different foci of the early chapters, the subsequent chapters, and the final chapter. The initial chapters explore the various conceptions of the American Dream, uncovering their historical and philosophical roots. The second part is a guide to the current election, explicating the views and personas of the two presidential candidates. Iannone is not polemical or biased in his evaluations of the American Dream or the candidates. He correctly notes the importance of the election, especially in its choice of American Dreams. For him, the two candidates are quite distinct in their conceptions of the Dream and how to enact it.

The book is a deep dive into these important topics and rewards the careful reader with a fuller understanding of the Dream and the politics. From the founding of the American colonies to current state and local politics, as well as the global context, Iannone spells out the consequences for notions of the American Dream. These chapters look at the Dream in detail and how the particular setting impacts the various notions of the Dream.

Two chapters examine Biden and Trump in terms of how they approach politics, their perspectives, and the roots of their behavior. He notes how their views align with philosophies such as John Rawls' views on justice. He delves into illuminating detail with a balanced analysis, allowing the facts to speak without extraneous commentary.

The final chapter lays out twelve suggestions for improving politics and governance processes. He proposes agencies for auditing government performance, campaign finance regulation, and more transparency in government policies and the budget. He advocates for a third party and using Ranked Choice and Proportional Representation in elections. The suggestions are spelled out in detail with articulate arguments.

One may not agree with all of Iannone’s analysis or his recommendations. For example, one can question recommendations that require impartial professional agency administrators, which one party adamantly opposes and many Americans, regardless of party, categorize as undesirable bureaucrats. However, the book is both an education on the importance of, and the variety of views on, the American Dream and how current politics reflect and affect that Dream. The book is truly rewarding reading in our times.

~ Dr. Lawrence F. Keller, Associate Professor Emeritus, Public Administration, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio

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