The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

by George Packer
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The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer

The 2013 National Book Award Winner

A New York Times Bestseller

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 tells the story of the past three decades by journeying through the lives of several Americans, including a son of tobacco farmers who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South, a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city, a Washington insider oscillating between political idealism and the lure of organized money, and a Silicon Valley billionaire who arrives at a radical vision of the future. Packer interweaves these stories with sketches of public figures, from Newt Gingrich to Jay-Z, and collages made from newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and song lyrics. Packer's novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America is his most ambitious work to date.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374534608
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 03/04/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 138,535
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

George Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, which received several prizes and was named one of the ten best books of 2005 by The New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of two novels, The Half Man and Central Square, and two other works of nonfiction, Blood of the Liberals, which won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and The Village of Waiting. His play, Betrayed, ran off-Broadway for five months in 2008 and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. His recent books include Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade. He lives in Brooklyn.

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The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very insightful book about the modern economy.  Packer deftly shows how our institutions are failing us and how some people how found new ways to sustain themselves.
Raleighreader More than 1 year ago
Please do not dimsiss this book as a simple polemic; it is anything but. Packer weaves together a narrative that examines the individual lives and choices of ordinary Americans, but it places their experiences squarely within the larger context of the political and business climate of the past four decades. The result is something akin to great tragic fiction, in that the charaters often are battling unseen or not understood forces that hold powerful sway over their lives. If you were born (as I was) between 1960-1970, this book is not just a history, it's our cultural biography. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fascinating look at American society over the last 40 years. I believed I was well informed about the evaporating middle class (of which I am a part) in America until I read this book. A must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book about the modern economy. The author puts things in a way we can all understand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Packer's narrative humanizes what's happening in America today. And, it's not a pretty picture. We all read about some of the issues he covers, but his telling of a handful of people who are being affected by big government and its cronies big money could easily be any of us who are what used to be called "solid middle class." And, it's hitting professionals too - like doctors who have (or had) solo practices and have now been bought out by big medicine because they can't afford to run their practices and pay their staff - or even provide medical benefits for them. Ironic, isn't it? I hate to think of what things will be like for my grandchildren.
BBCloverMA More than 1 year ago
Mr. Packer has, instead of being "preachy", utilized a novel way of detailing the dramatic changes in our society through the voices of some people who have lived though this period. It makes it easy to see how many of our politicians are apparently isolated from the real world inhabited by the rest of us. Mr Packer makes no projections for the future but, how can one these days?
Ken-in-Arlington More than 1 year ago
By (brilliantly) using the structure of "U.S.A." (the classic Dos Pasos novel), Packer managers to achieve the most humane and compelling book about the Great Recession. Don't react in a knee-jerk partisan way - read and understand how the economic crisis has affected real people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A concise, human explanation of the economic and political decline of America since the oil crisis of 1973. As a Piedmont North Carolinian who graduated college in 1973 , I cannot imagine a better accounting of the changes in the lives of Americans. A great read.
vyne1 More than 1 year ago
Some interesting case studies--- some famous folk, some not--- of individuals affected by the social forces of the past decade or so. But to make any grand conclusions on the basis of these few cases is perilous thus, I think, it's a less major book than some would have it. I don't think it has been a great year for non-fiction (or fiction either). Alan Taylor's NBA nominee a more durable book on a big subject, but only of great interest to scholars.
Bevrausch More than 1 year ago
Author does a good job explaining what has been going on during our lifetime in this country.
Emilynn More than 1 year ago
George Packer is an excellent writter and tells of America's decline in a fascinating manner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoughtful and well documented review concerning changes taking place in American society today.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book keeps sticking with me. The author has a very unique way of showing how our profound sense of american exceptionalism and unquestioned belief in the rightness of capitalism has destroyed the very thing our founding fathers sought to create. Although all is not lost! Packard weaves in characters who refuse to give up, highlights the amazing technological advances american minds create, and shows that common sense (ex. Biodiesel) is usually the best idea. A must read for anyone interested in the REAL political, social, and economic factors that have created the america of today.
hammerofthegods More than 1 year ago
This book shows in uncompromising terms what America has become, and what we have lost in the last 30 years. This current history is told thru the personal backstories of struggling everyday Americans interspersed with shorter chapters on influential public figures who have helped shape the Zeitgeist of our times. It is incredibly moving and a must read for any American who is feeling cynical about our political stasis, economic stagnation, and sensing an overall feeling of a dampening enthusiasm. This book helped wake me up out of my ennui, to see the vast potential inherent in our human capital, that we can and will get our swagger back. What an incredible piece of writing that will be read by our grandchildren and great-grandchildren as a time capsule to this turbulent, vexing, and challenging period we live in now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Insightful and humane exposition. Overall a good report that gives you a slice of life as effected by the economy from several perspectives.
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