9780374102418

The Unwinding An Inner History of the New America

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780374102418

  • ISBN10:

    0374102414

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 5/21/2013
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Summary

American democracy in our time is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, leaving the social contract in pieces, and setting its citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer narrates the story of this America over the past three decades with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives.The Unwinding moves back and forth through the lives of six characters as they approach the present, including Dean Price, son of tobacco farmers, who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a factory worker in the industrial Midwest trying to survive the collapse of her city; Jeff Connaughton, a career Washington insider who oscillates between idealism and organized money; and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire with a radical vision of the future.The narrative juxtaposes these intimate stories with biographical sketches of the era's leading public figures, and with collages of headlines, slogans, songs, ideals, follies, and frauds, capturing the year-by-year flow of events and undercurrents. The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer relevant, and ordinary people struggling to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation.

Author Biography

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, The Village of Waiting and Blood of the Liberals, which won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. His play, Betrayed, ran in Off Broadway for five months in 2008 and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. His most recent book is Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade. He lives in Brooklyn.

Table of Contents

Prologue

PART I

1978

Dean Price

Total War: Newt Gingrich

Jeff Connaughton

1984

Tammy Thomas

Her Own: Oprah Winfrey

Jeff Connaughton

1987

Craftsman: Raymond Carver

Dean Price

Tammy Thomas

Mr. Sam: Sam Walton

1994

Jeff Connaughton

Silicon Valley

1999

Dean Price Tammy Thomas 2003

Institution Man (1): Colin Powell

Jeff Connaughton

PART II

Dean Price

Radish Queen: Alice Waters

Tampa

Silicon Valley

2008

Institution Man (2): Robert Rubin

Jeff Connaughton

Tammy Thomas

Dean Price

Just Business: Jay-Z

Tampa

PART III

Jeff Connaughton

2010

Citizen Journalist: Andrew Breitbart

Tampa

Dean Price

Tammy Thomas

Tampa

Prairie Populist: Elizabeth Warren

Wall Street

2012

Silicon Valley

Jeff Connaughton

Tampa

Tammy Thomas

Dean Price

A Note on Sources

Acknowledgments

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