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The Unwinding Audiobook
The Unwinding
Written by: 
George Packer
Narrated by: 
Robert Fass
 >   > 
The Unwinding Audiobook

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Nonfiction, 2013

A riveting examination of a nation in crisis, from one of the finest political journalists of our generation. 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, author of The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades in an utterly original way, with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives.

The Unwinding journeys through the lives of several Americans, including Dean Price, the son of tobacco farmers, who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city; Jeff Connaughton, a Washington insider oscillating between political idealism and the lure of organized money; and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who questions the Internet’s significance and arrives at a radical vision of the future.

Packer interweaves these intimate stories with biographical sketches of the era’s leading public figures, from Newt Gingrich to Jay-Z, and collages made from newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and song lyrics that capture the flow of events and their undercurrents. The Unwinding 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. Packer’s novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America is his most ambitious work to date. Includes bonus content read by the author.

©2013 George Packer (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (423 )
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4.2 (361 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Victoria Aurora, Ontario, canada 05-10-16
    Victoria Aurora, Ontario, canada 05-10-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent and disturbing on so many levels"

    Fully enjoyed the meandering and story telling at the individual level. Upon completion, felt I was leaving some good souls - and not so good ones - behind.
    So disturbing in light of current electoral events stateside.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EH Fayetteville, AR, United States 09-27-15
    EH Fayetteville, AR, United States 09-27-15 Member Since 2011

    Jeff

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent"
    What made the experience of listening to The Unwinding the most enjoyable?

    This was not the type of book I thought I was buying and it took me a while to get used to it. It was worth that though. Excellently written. A terrific and objective perspective of how the decline of America and the crumbling of the American system is affecting average Americans.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blue Tooth Rochester, NY 01-03-15
    Blue Tooth Rochester, NY 01-03-15 Member Since 2011

    technogeek

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Wonder how it's going to end."

    As a collection of stories about the lives of ordinary people, it paints a pretty vivid picture of how we have arrived at this point in time. One wonders how we can undo the grim momentum of greed and ignorance. Maybe books like this can help more Americans understand our current predicament.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 09-21-13
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 09-21-13 Member Since 2010

    Audio Addict! Usually listening to History these days. Love Will Durant most of all authors!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very well written and even a little scary."

    Great presentation of the last few decades and the politics and economic issues Americans face.
    America is on the decline, thus the unwinding. It's systematic and not caused by one party or person. But it is happening. I was very impressed with the many and diverse people the author uses to make his point. Every class and race is represented. We are all affected.

    I didn't feel that it was biased, which I appreciate. Very impressive style of writing!

    An author to watch!

    6 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EE Davis 12-03-13
    EE Davis 12-03-13

    EE

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Compelling and enlightening"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would enthusiastically recommend this book to friends (and enemies, too). Although I lived through all the decades described in the book, I only experienced my little corner of history. This book opened my eyes to the big picture. Not only that, in doing so, it helped me understand on a much more organic basis the connections between historical events and their effects on people outside (and inside) my community. In short, it educated me, in a most engrossing way, about how to think critically and the absolute importance of integrity in our social and political dealings. Unfortunately, that integrity is sorely lacking in contemporary life.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The structure. The book embodies the concept of unwinding threads from a tapestry.


    Which character – as performed by Robert Fass – was your favorite?

    I wouldn't think of the people described in the book as "characters" as they actually live/lived. They all are fascinating. However, because of similarities in background, temperament, and geography, I was drawn most strongly to Dean Price.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The book has a cumulative effect. As it unwinds its stories, you are drawn in every more deeply. By the end of the book, that effect packs a wallop.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best books I have ever read.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angel D. 08-02-13
    Angel D. 08-02-13

    ABookAngel

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good but..."

    There were parts of this book I really liked, but it did get slow in some areas. There is also this wierd thing done between chapters where headlines are used. This make look interesting in print form, but for me it did not transfer to this format well.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Petry Santa Barbara, CA USA 09-29-13
    David Petry Santa Barbara, CA USA 09-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unexpectedly Good"

    This book unfolds the last four decades in the United States using stories of people who lived it. They include the rich, the poor, the obscure, the famous, and the stories weave through the America experience in a way that explains where we've been and what has happened. Well-read.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CS 10-02-15
    CS 10-02-15 Member Since 2013
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    "deep look at American dysfunction"

    good but depressing book. chapters on newt Gingrich, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth warren and Joe biden were the best.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edwin R Phelps 11-06-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Doesn't seem to get to a point"
    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Doesn't seem to get to a point. The long descriptions of the characters were presented without context or insight.


    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank 10-25-13
    Frank 10-25-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Much better than I expected"

    I am not sure there is another book that better captures the feeling of what the changes in America have meant to the Americans who lived through them.

    You have to read this book if you care about what is happening to our country.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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