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The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (2013)

by George Packer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,3283714,389 (4.03)1 / 204
Through an examination of the lives of several Americans and leading public figures over the past three decades, Packer 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.… (more)
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English (36)  German (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Excellent profiles of ordinary people--and a few famous ones who don't seem to fit into this book at all. The book is clearly a collection of New Yorker pieces, and no attempt has been made to fit them into a narrative whole or social argument--this is the one serious weakness in what otherwise is a fine, revealing, and ultimately disheartening look at contemporary America. ( )
  fmclellan | Jan 23, 2024 |
This book had a particular narrative style that doesn't work well for me. The author told the personal stories of multiple people who have been living through the "unwinding" of American culture. The stories were well told. Packer has a gift for bringing people and places to life. However, he clearly had a point to make, but he wouldn't just come out and say it. It was biographies with an agenda, and he never said what the agenda was. The other thing that bugged me was that the book just ended when it got to the present day. There was no conclusion, no closure. Between these two factors, I came away from the book unsatisfied.

It wouldn't have taken much to dramatically change my opinion. The exact same book with an epilogue in the style of the prologue would have been enough to round of the book and the still-ongoing-in-real-life stories of the highlighted individuals.

The prologue was the one part of this book that I loved without reserve. It managed to convey the essence of the story of the past 40 years in just a few pages. It's worth reading, even if you read nothing else. (And, I suspect that, conveniently, the Amazon Kindle preview chapter would include it without having to purchase the whole thing.) ( )
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
One of the best books I’ve read this decade. Feb, 2022 ( )
  ramrak | Feb 13, 2022 |
This is the best book I have read this year. ( )
  Octavia78 | Nov 28, 2021 |
Packer looks at the changing landscape of America through the eyes and voice of those deeply involved in it. ( )
  addunn3 | Nov 20, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George Packerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fass, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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Through an examination of the lives of several Americans and leading public figures over the past three decades, Packer 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.

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No funciona el gobierno, ni la sociedad y la menguante clase media tiene escasas posibilidades de resurgir.

A través de los perfiles de varios personajes Packer ofrece una perspectiva tan amplia como fascinante de la crisis de una nación. Se centra en la vida de un evangelista de Carolina del Norte, que se busca la vida en una economía cambiante; una trabajadora de Youngstown (Ohio), que lucha por sobrevivir al declive industrial de un país; un lobbyista de Washington, atrapado entre sus ideales y la realidad de la política americana; y un empresario de Silicon Valley que apuesta por el papel del comercio electrónico. Entremedias aparecen valuosísimas referencias a protagonistas de esta era como Newt Gingrich, Colin Powell, Raymond Carver, Sam Walton o Jay-Z.
Una obra maestra en la que Packer ofrece un retrato penetrante, iluminador y aveces terrible de las complejidades del declive de una potencia y de la esperanza de la recuperación.
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