The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

A 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 Internet's significance and arrives at a radical vision of the future. Packer 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.

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. Packer's novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America is his most ambitious work to date.

One of the iTunes Bookstore's "Ten Books You Must Read This Summer"

Title:The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781466836952
Format Type:

    The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America Reviews

  • Miles

    After hearing about this book on NPR's Morning Edition and Tom Ashbrook's On-Point, I decided it sounded like a book I needed to read. I tried to approach it with the caution that a possibly over-hype...

  • Melanie

    A superb piece of journalism. Packer writes like a dream and those who know him from his articles in The New Yorker will find more of his astute eye and ability to conjure character in a handful of de...

  • Ted

    ”No one can say when the unwinding began – when the coil that held Americans together in its secure and sometimes stifling grip first gave way. Like any great change, the unwinding began at countl...

  • Gary  the Bookworm

    This so depressing (7/13/14):http://www.alternet.org/some-point-pr...Maybe some positive news (5/8/14):http://www.alternet.org/economy/rober...If you're trying to figure out what happened to "Yes we c...

  • D.A.

    I never had an idea of what my life was supposed to be. I had dreams -- too vague to be ambitions -- but nobody ever handed me the keys to a life and told me to drive away into the future. So at some ...

  • Trish

    George Packer returned from several years overseas writing about problems of the United States in the world, never imagining that the United States would become his next subject. But he was appalled w...

  • Max

    Packer follows the lives of three people from 1978 through 2012, filling in with many side vignettes to illustrate the dramatic changes in middle class life. We see how people lost their jobs and thei...

  • Karen

    The front of this book describes it as "complex", but actually it's as straightforward as walking, remember that? One foot in front of t'other. Unsurprisingly, since George Packer is a staff writer fo...

  • Michael

    Let me tell you a story: after World War II, the United States--having survived the world's bloodiest conflict largely unscathed--began an economic Golden Age. While taxes were high (91% top marginal ...

  • Dana Stabenow

    This is the book you read if you want an eyewitness account of the last 40 years of American history, leading specifically to the Great Recession and told from the viewpoint of the people who lived it...