The Best Of Times / Edition 1

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We were awash in money and spellbound by celebrity and scandal. It was a time of breathtaking strides in science and unprecedented possibility. A time of squandered opportunities and grave distraction. A time of tragic complacency and belief in our invulnerability.

In The Best of Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Haynes Johnson looks back on the decade that defied anyone's expectations, for better or worse. With a sharp eye for the quote or detail that perfectly captures a moment in time, Johnson tells the whole story, no holds barred, of the roller-coaster, self-indulgent nineties when America paid no attention to gathering foreign storms or looming economic collapse.

The product of four years of interviews with the decade's most influential players, this is in the best tradition of timeless social history—a memorable portrait of the entire wonderful yet woeful decade that ended in the cataclysmic flames of September 11.

A James H. Silberman Book
National Bestseller

Now with a New Foreword, Afterword, and Postscript

In offering this paperback edition of the bubble years, I hope the stories I tell of that newly old America will illuminate how in a few short years we went from the best of times to the worst of times. In my Afterword, I suggest what lessons we must learn from that experience to avoid further disasters and close the circle on some events that typified the period.
—Haynes Johnson
From the new Foreword

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Penned by a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, this engaging social history presents the Bill Clinton/Bill Gates '90s in all its diversity, prosperity, greed, and scandal. Johnson, the author of Sleepwalking Through History, based this abundant book on his interviews with scores of prominent leaders and everyday Americans. The Best of Times re-creates an era that, though recent, now seems remote.
From the Publisher

"Informed, balanced and . . . gripping. A vivid and reliable reminder of what we have been through."—The New York Times

"Drawn with insight, care, and an excellent eye for detail . . . Johnson is among the most brilliant chroniclers of our times, and he scores again here."—The Boston Globe

"A magnetic book that every thoughtful American will want to read."—Publishers Weekly

"Beautifully written . . . As full of juicy tidbits as a cherry cake. [Johnson shows] how witty, perceptive and morally grown up American political journalism can be at its best."—The Economist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156027014
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 670
  • Sales rank: 819,486
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Haynes Johnson

Haynes Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of the bestsellers Sleepwalking Through History and The Bay of Pigs. He is a regular on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and lives in Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xi
To the Reader xv
Prelude: Fragments from a Golden Age 1
Book 1 Technotimes
1. Deep (RS/6000 SP) Blue 11
2. Culture of Success 17
3. Nerd Nirvana 48
4. Seeding the Future 73
Book 2 Teletimes
5. Trial of the Century--Part One 107
6. Cult of Celebrity 165
7. Dream Factories 192
Book 3 Scandal Times
8. Bill's Story 227
9. Trial of the Century--Part Two 411
Book 4 Millennial Times
10. The People 443
11. The Markets 468
12. The Millennials 490
13. The Fiasco 519
Epilogue 550
Afterword 563
Postscript: Relics from the Nineties 589
Acknowledgements 597
About the Author 599
Notes and Sources 601
Bibliography 615
Index 621
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2003

    Great expectations, but an amazing letdown

    This is a horrible book. From the jacket cover and reviews I'd read of it, it seemed of great interest and an important contribution to the politics of America in the 1990s. Instead, it is a screed against everything good that happened in the 1990s - the advancement of technology, the increased ability of Americans to interact with and understand their government, and the ability of people to obtain information outside of the mainstream media. Johnson seems to think there is something bad about the technological revolution and what it meant for this country. Predictibly, his book is also an "isn't it awful/woe is me" litany of horribles about modern conservatism: isn't it awful that President Clinton was impeached over just sex; isn't it awful that the Republicans control Congress since the 1994 midterm elections; isn't it awful that the rich don't want to pay their fair share of taxes; etc.; etc. It gets quite old after awhile. Ultimately, this book fails for the same reason that liberalism in this country has failed: it is a re-hash of the same tired complaints that the left has been making since the 1960s with nothing new to energize it. This book adds nothing to an intelligent debate over society and the role of government in it.

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