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The Unwinding

An Inner History of the New America

Packer, George

(Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Unwinding
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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. 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.
Publisher: New York :, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, 2013.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 0374102414
9780374102418
Characteristics: viii, 434 pages ;,24 cm

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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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app11 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52