Wednesday, July 17, 2024


George Packer


What the hell happened to America? The New Yorker’s George Packer, who is giving a free lecture Wednesday at Lesley University, gives an extensive answer in his nonfiction “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America,” which he summed up last year in a talk with Alex Star:

“The Unwinding: is an idiosyncratic narrative shaped by certain themes that preoccupy me. “Elemental unfairness” is a good term for them. I’m writing about the deep forces threatening the economic opportunity and national cohesion – the sense that there’s a place for everyone  – that our democracy depends on.

Packer’s best-seller, which won the 2013 National Book Award in nonfiction, tells the story of what’s happened to the country over the past several decades, mainly through the eyes of three people: a white, male southerner; a black woman from the Rust Belt; and Jeff Connaughton, a government aide and lobbyist who woke up at the start of the Great Recession and “went back into government to try to force some discipline on the banks that had brought the country to its knees. Instead, he found that those banks had staged a sort of takeover of the government.”

Packer plans to talk politics, the economy and about the challenges facing the nation. Space is limited at the lecture, and the sponsoring Friends of Lesley suggests those wishing to attend register here.

Packer’s free lecture is from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in Lesley University’s second floor University Hall, 1815 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square.