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The Unwinding

An Inner History of the New America
Packer, George (Book - 2013 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Unwinding
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Through an examination of the lives of several Americans and leading public figures over the past three decades, the author 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. 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 this book the author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades. The book 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 Internet's significance and arrives at a radical vision of the future. The author interweaves these intimate stories with biographical sketches of the era's 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. Through an examination of the lives of these Americans and leading public figures over the past three decades, the book 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. -- Publisher's description.
Authors: Packer, George, 1960-
Title: The unwinding
an inner history of the new America
Publisher: New York :, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, 2013.
Edition: First edition.
Characteristics: viii, 434 pages ;,24 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Contents: pt. I. 1978
Dean Price
Total war : Newt Gingrich
Jeff Connaughton
1984
Tammy Thomas
Her own : Oprah Winfrey
Jeff Connaughton
1987
Craftsman : Raymond Carver
Dean Price
Tammy Thomas
Mr. Sam : Sam Walton
1994
Jeff Connaughton
Silicon Valley
1999
Dean Price
Tammy Thomas
2003
Institution man (1) : Colin Powell
Jeff Connaughton
pt. II. Dean Price
Radish Queen : Alice Waters
Tampa
Silicon Valley
2008
Institution man (2) : Robert Rubin
Jeff Connaughton
Tammy Thomas
Dean Price
Just business : Jay-Z
Tampa
pt. III. Jeff Connaughton
2010
Citizen journalist : Andrew Breitbart
Tampa
Dean Price
Tammy Thomas
Tampa
Prairie populist : Elizabeth Warren
Wall Street
2012
Silicon Valley
Jeff Connaughton
Tampa
Tammy Thomas
Dean Price.
Summary: Through an examination of the lives of several Americans and leading public figures over the past three decades, the author 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.
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 this book the author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades. The book 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 Internet's significance and arrives at a radical vision of the future. The author interweaves these intimate stories with biographical sketches of the era's 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. Through an examination of the lives of these Americans and leading public figures over the past three decades, the book 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. -- Publisher's description.
Local Note: 1 6 7 8 9 15 16 17 18 27 29 35 53 54 57 62 67 71 73 74 76 79 80 97 109 112 118 127 133 138 143 148 150 151 152 159 160 167 173 176 188 203 211 216 222 224 226 231 242 243 244 250 263 264 268
ISBN: 9780374102418
0374102414
Statement of Responsibility: George Packer
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (pages 431-434).
Subject Headings: United States History 1969- United States Social conditions 1980- United States Biography. Social problems United States. Crises United States. United States Politics and government 1989- Politicians United States Biography. Celebrities United States Biography.
Topical Term: Social problems
Crises
Politicians
Celebrities
LCCN: 2013004431
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Jun 17, 2014
  • jacqueg_ rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Ordinary Americans, losing a bit more often than they win, and actually having a pretty good idea why that is.

Jun 02, 2014
  • Jane60201 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A good effort but ultimately more than I wanted to know. I think his point could have been made with shorter vignettes.

This is a well written and interesting book, however, it is ultimately very depressing.

Dec 18, 2013
  • suzannehb rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Let's be honest--George Packer is talented, but he's no Studs Terkel. No one is. That said--this book is excellent. The book is in that vein; a look at what has been happening in the US through individual vignettes. Good stuff, indeed.

I like his writing style. To me the best parts, read like Studs Terkel.

Sep 21, 2013
  • sigrun19 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

If you want to understand what has been going on in the States for the last decade or so, stop watching TV news and read this book (and others like it).

Sep 17, 2013
  • FishOuttaWater rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Good stuff

Jun 29, 2013
  • GummiGirl rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

An outstanding account of how several decades of economic upheaval have affected various Americans, both winners and losers. Its stories are very personal, but at the same time time show how people are at the mercy of much larger trends.

I'm excited to read this book. Icelandia, I feel ya, but this is also the Age of Austerity and unfortunately education, libraries, and other assorted social services are the first to feel the pain. :(

So sad to see the library is getting only 9 copies. Really? This is George Packer, ya know.

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