New York Times columnist David Brooks in the Sunday (6/9) Book Review gives a long and largely positive review of George Packer’s (Togo 1982–83) new book The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America recently published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Brooks compares Parker’s book to the novels of John Dos Passos U.S.A. trilogy (1930–1936) that came out during the Great Depression. The difference being that Packer’s characters are real, and Packer is not writing fiction.
Brooks major complaint is this: “Packer does an outstanding job with these stories, The Unwinding offers vivid snapshots of people who have experienced a loss of faith. As a way of understanding contemporary America, these examples are tantalizing. But they are also frustrating. The book is supposed to have social, economic and political implications, but there is no actual sociology, economics or political analysis in it.”
Summing up, Brooks writes,“Anybody who covers Washington and Wall Street knows there is an awesome amount of self-dealing in America’s power centers, most of it perfectly legal. But in what sense has this elite — which comes from the finest universities and is the most diverse and equal-opportunity elite in history-failed? This is the sort of question The Unwinding doesn’t help answer.”
David, hasn’t George done enough? Hasn’t George given us the raw meat to chew on! Now you go out and tell us what to do next. You’re an Elitist. A Conservative. A Talking Head. You must know best. Babble On! Write a book!
And then we can hope Packer goes out and sticks a pin in your balloon.