The Great Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America | Los Angeles Public Library
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The Great Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

George Packer
In conversation with Héctor Tobar
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Episode Summary

This National Book Award-winning account illuminates the erosion of the social compact --the collapse of farms, factories, public schools--that had kept the United States stable and middle class since the late 1970s. In The Great Unwinding, Packer probes the seething undercurrents of American life, offering an intimate look into the lives that have been transformed by the dissolution of our economic glue. From unchecked banks to the rise of Walton's Walmart, this retelling of American history through Packer's voice offers “…a sad but delicious jazz-tempo requiem for the post-World War II American social contract.” (David M. Kennedy)


*Click here to see photos from the program!

Participant(s) Bio

George Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, which received several prizes and was named one of the ten best books of 2005 by The New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of two novels, The Half Man and Central Square, and two other works of nonfiction, Blood of the Liberals, which won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and The Village of Waiting. His play,Betrayed, ran off-Broadway for five months in 2008 and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. His most recent book is Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade. He lives in Brooklyn.


Héctor Tobar has is a novelist who has also worked as a journalist for the Los Angeles Times for nearly twenty years.  He shared a Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of the 1992 riots, and then served as the national Latino Affairs correspondent, the Buenos Aires bureau chief, and the Mexico City bureau chief.  He is currently a book critic for the Los Angeles Times and is the author of three books: Translation Nation, The Tattooed Soldier, and the award-winning The Barbarian Nurseries. His non-fiction book on the story of the Chilean miners, Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle that Set Them Free is forthcoming in fall 2014.  The son of Guatemalan immigrants, Tobar is a native of the city of Los Angeles.