The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George PackerA riveting examination of a nation in crisis, from one of the finest political journalists of our generation
American democracy is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, allowing unprecedented freedom while rending the social contract, driving the political system to the verge of breakdown, and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer, author of The Assassins Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades in an utterly original way, with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives.
The Unwinding journeys through the lives of several Americans, including Dean Price, the son of tobacco farmers, who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city; Jeff Connaughton, a Washington insider oscillating between political idealism and the lure of organized money; and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who questions the Internets significance and arrives at a radical vision of the future. Packer interweaves these intimate stories with biographical sketches of the eras leading public figures, from Newt Gingrich to Jay-Z, and collages made from newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and song lyrics that capture the flow of events and their undercurrents.
The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation. Packers novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America is his most ambitious work to date.
One of the iTunes Bookstores Ten Books You Must Read This Summer
Popular Book The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America For Trial
The large pieces are profiles: portraits of a Reagan Republican turned biodiesel entrepreneur; a thoughtful and disappointed longtime Joe Biden staffer; a female factory worker in Youngstown, Ohio, who becomes a community organizer; Peter Thiel, the libertarian Silicon Valley venture capitalist; and, finally, the City of Tampa in Florida, which had problems before the foreclosure crisis and seems like hell on earth now. The small pieces are critical riffs, often acidic, on especially influential Americans of the past few decades. Rubin, Andrew Breitbart, Colin L. Some of the large pieces, which are chopped up and welded onto the rest in roughly page blocks, began as articles in The New Yorker, where Mr. Packer is a staff writer.
George Packer is an old-fashioned muckraker in 21st Century America. But unlike those crusading journalists a century ago who tackled a single issue like child labor or slaughter houses, Packer takes on the whole country. Throughout, his work has the ring of truth. His territory is the soft underbelly of America—not the fruited plains or bombs bursting in air of an idealized America—where greed, cynicism, political bankruptcy and broken dreams find solid nourishment. He portrays an America where only fools and suckers believe in its mythology of equality, justice, economic fairness, good government and apple pie. Thus, The Unwinding of our social and civic contract, our simple decency, our Bill of Rights and just about every institution intended to sustain a humanist democracy.
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
most popular book review blogs
George Packer discusses his new book, 'The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America' — a country no longer assumed to be a global leader, even as its internal economic gulf widens. July 3, Kennedy Book Award. The narrative follows the successes and failures of various Americans, including: Dean Price, the son of a tobacco farmer and an evangelist for a green economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a Rust Belt factory worker trying to survive the financial collapse of Youngstown, Ohio ; and Peter Thiel , a Silicon Valley billionaire, who questions the true worth of the technology economy. Packer gives us these tales without opinion or commentary. Instead, he simply lets readers make their own judgments from the stories he provides.