Harry Kreisler welcomes George Packer for a discussion of his new book, "The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America." Packer discusses his formative experiences, including forging his own political identity and coming to terms with the legacy of his progressive grandfather and his liberal father. He then recounts the influence of his mother on his writing and his odyssey—Peace Corps, construction, working with the homeless, and membership in the socialist party-- that led him to writing as a vocation. After sketching the skills and temperament of a writer, Packer describes the origins of his new book and its architecture. He then discusses the two groups of men and women whose personal narratives his book explores and relates how their lives give insight into the unwinding of the American dream. The discussion offers a compelling portrait of the inner history of the new America defined by glaring inequality and the collapse of institutions.
Key Words: Writers, Politics, Political Economy
June 9, 2010
Conversations with History