In his Daily Show interview with author George Packer, Jon Stewart described THE UNWINDING as “Studs Terkel-y but with a Ken Burns-mwah” (kissed fingers), and I have to agree. Subtitled An Inner History of the New America, Packer’s narrative spans from 1978 to 2012, profiling a half-dozen random Americans and a handful of celebrities to show how our society—particularly from an economic standpoint—has changed over the course of these past few decades.
Having lived my own life through this period and remembering it well, it is fascinating to hear it explained through the lenses of others’ lives. The book is also compelling for how it sheds light on both the institutional failures and the human side of our recent financial meltdowns and burst bubbles. Although depressing on one level, on another it shows how forcefully individuals can respond to challenges and how resilient they can be.
To give you a taste of what you will find, here are a few lines I highlighted:
- “The void was filled by the default force in American life, organized money.”
- “… Eventually six of the surviving Waltons would have as much money as the bottom 30 percent of Americans.”
- “It was strange how small the idea had to get before anyone would give it a chance.”
See what you think.