The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

George Packer

Language: English

Pages: 448

ISBN: 0374534608

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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.

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Tea Party activist posted what was supposed to be Perriello’s home address outside Charlottesville, urging people to go make their views known. It turned out to be the address of his brother, his brother’s wife, and their four children, and the next day someone cut the family’s gas line. Perriello began to feel that the first politician to inspire him was also leaving him hanging out to dry. On the one hand, Obama had “an unbelievable willingness to do what I got into politics to do, which is to

of all. They started pulling at the threads supporting mortgages, credit cards, and consumer lending, and those, too, gave way. The regulators were spread out over seven agencies, moving in seven different directions, and none of them had the consumer as a main focus. It wasn’t hard for the banks to get these cops off the beat and start selling increasingly dangerous mortgages, credit cards, even car loans. The banks turned the promises American families made to pay them back into tranches of

learned who was). In Nashville, as in Milwaukee, she had better relations with white people than with her own family, and later she would say that she never felt oppressed except by black people who disliked her very dark skin or envied her success. She quit Tennessee State before graduating and went to work at a local TV station. When she got a job on an evening newscast in Baltimore in 1976, she was going to be the black Barbara Walters, or Mary Tyler Moore. But she couldn’t write copy, and

an over-the-top introduction: “One of the great public servants of our time and personally a wonderful human being, he called me when my child was sick…” Over to the senator, who would tell a couple of lame jokes, the clients would laugh, and then they’d get down to business. When Connaughton started out in lobbying, it was considered unseemly to combine raising money with discussing issues, but that line eroded over time like everything else, and eventually a pro like Chris Dodd, who was always

their thinking and deferred to the majority, the herd. There weren’t enough Robinson Crusoes in the world. Clarium moved to the fourth floor of a brick-and-glass building at the edge of Presidio Park, with splendid views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific. From his corner office Thiel could see Alcatraz and the Marin hills. The building was on the grounds of the San Francisco headquarters of Lucasfilm, the first floor decorated with statuary, from Thiel’s favorite movie, of Darth Vader

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