Interesting Times: Book summary and reviews of Interesting Times by George Packer

Interesting Times

Writings from a Turbulent Decade

By George Packer

Interesting Times
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2009,
    432 pages.

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Book Summary

Throughout his career as a journalist, George Packer has always been attuned to the voices and stories of individuals caught up in the big ideas and events of contemporary history. Interesting Times unites brilliant investigative pieces such as "Betrayed," about Iraqi interpreters, with personal essays and detailed narratives of travels through war zones and failed states. Spanning a decade that includes the September 11 attacks and the election of Barack Obama, Packer brings insight and passion to his accounts of the war on terror, Iraq, political writers, and the 2008 election. Across these varied subjects a few key themes recur: the temptations and dangers of idealism; the moral complexities of war and politics; the American capacity for self-blinding and self-renewal.

Whether exploring American policies in the wake of September 11, tracking a used T-shirt from New York to Uganda, or describing the ambivalent response in Appalachia to Obama, these essays hold a mirror up to our own troubled times and showcase Packer's unmistakable perspective, which is at once both wide-angled and humane.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Despite the breadth of his topics, each essay is distinguished by its telling details and the depth of its insight." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. A salient example of brave, inspired narrative journalism." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

George Packer Author Biography

Photo: Guillermo Riveros

George Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, which received numerous 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, The Village of Waiting and Blood of the Liberals, which won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. His play, Betrayed, ran in Manhattan for five months in 2008 and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. His most recent book is The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. He lives in Brooklyn.

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