Final Book Blog

George Packer: The Unwinding: an Inner History of the New America, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Copyright 2013, 430 pages

The Unwinding, a New York Times Bestseller and a National Book Award Winner, is a very unique non-fiction novel that tells the story on how America became the country it is today.  Packer's main focus is to inform his audience on some of the aspects of the late 20th century and the early 21st century.  He starts the story in 1978 and goes all the way through 2010, talking about important individuals and features of the United States.
Packer makes this book quite interesting as he rotates through the seven themes of APUSH.  Packer ultimately makes this novel like a collection of biographies, each telling a different story about how that individual shaped American history.  These individuals are just ordinary people living out their lives, each playing a different role in society.  He alternates through the stories of a very diverse group of people spanning from an…

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I have just about finished the book and Packer is still holding onto his audience with a tight grip.  As it turns out, Packer is not just explaining the life stories of ordinary Americans that helped shape the country, but instead is explaining the different factors and aspects that affected America, each in a different way.  Packer explains more about Silicon Valley and how the technology businesses there were booming.  He explains more about Jeff Connaughton and how he is dealing with the stress of political affairs.  In addition, he explains more about Dean Price and how he is coping with his business and retirement.  Lastly, Packer introduces a few more individuals into the picture, such as Robert Rubin and Elizabeth Warren.  He summarizes a portion of each individuals life and explains the impact they had on American history. This is a picture of Robert Rubin.  Packer goes more in detail on how Rubin is an "institutional man".  As it turns out, Rubin is the former Secre…

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Now that I am getting closer to finishing this novel, I have more or less been introduced to all of the key figures that Packer talks about.  I continued on the stories of Dean Price, Jeff Connaughton, and Tammy Thomas.  Packer goes deeper in depth on Dean Price's business and Jeff Connaughton success in politics.  Packer also explains more about Tammy's life and childhood and about her children.  In addition, Packer introduces his audience to Silicon Valley billionaire, Peter Thiel.  Packer goes in depth on Thiel's college life and career life.  I found his story quite interesting and Thiel is a very ambitious introvert whose primary focus is success in school and career.  While explaining about Thiel's career, Packer also explains about the technology boom that is happening in Silicon Valley and how it was very efficient for Thiel to live there during this time.
While keeping up with the life stories of the key figures in this novel, Packer also introduces his audien…

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This week, as I continued reading this novel, Packer dives deeper into the background of the characters.  In addition, Packer introduces a new historical figure into the story: Mr. Sam (Sam Walton).  Born in Oklahoma in 1918, Walton goes on to be one of the richest men in America.  Walton soon became an entrepreneur and started to invest in multiple franchises.  He then created his own franchise: Walmart.  Packer states that Walton never really cared about money and was more about helping the community, which is one reason that he was so successful.  He knew what the community needed and put it up for sale with a low price.  Thousands of workers joined the Walmart team and referred to Walton as Mr. Sam.  He was the leader of the whole company and everybody looked up to him.  Packer states that it was "only after his death,  after Walmart's downhome founder was no longer its public face, that the country began to understand what his company has done."  Personally, this st…

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In the past week, I was introduced to two more significant people: Oprah Winfrey and Raymond Carver.  In addition, I also read a little more about Dean Price, Jeff Connaughton, and Tammy Thomas. 
To start off, I found out that Dean Price went through a tough divorce and ended up moving back to the south where he grey up.  It was there that he founded a business: Sheetz.  This was a little convenience store on the side of the highway where cars and trucks could stop for refreshments.  He soon became a very successful entrepreneur and brought back a large amount of profit from his franchise.
On the east coast, Jeff Connaughton got a job as a fundraising supervisor as that was his forte.  It was not his ideal job but he thought of it as a stepping stone to the white house.  He got the chance to work with some incredible people even though he labored all day long with a small starting salary.  He also got the chance to know Joe Biden a little more.  He figured out that Biden is friendly a…

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Similar to last week, this weeks main focus was Tammy Thomas, a black citizen who grew up during the civil rights movement.  As I read more into her story, I got more interested about life back in the 60s.  Thomas is from Youngstown, Ohio, which is an interesting place to read about.  I have been reading a little more into all of the characters online in my own time.  I believe it is good to have a broader background about the people I am reading about. I have done separate research projects into that era for other subjects in school but it is good to actually read about it in a book about a particular person and their point of view.

Next week, I will read more into Jeff Connaughton and his journey through politics.  All of the people that I am reading about contribute to establishing an American identity.  Meaning, Packer explains how the United States is a very united but diverse place where people come from many different backgrounds.
So far, Tammy Thomas and Jeff Connaughton are m…

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This past week I was introduced to another major character: Tammy Thomas. I still have a few more characters to meet which I plan to accomplish this coming week.  Once I have read about all of them, I will have a better understanding of the context of this book.  It has been going very well and this book is becoming more intriguing as I continue to read.  I found Thomas to be a very unique character as a black woman who grew up in the fifties and the sixties.  I always find it interesting to read about characters from that time as that is one of my favorite eras. I find it fascinating to read about the lifestyle then and how much it has changed.
Packer is doing a good job explaining the development of a national identity in the United States.  So far, he has written about people of very different origins, occupations, and races.  Even though he doesn't directly say it, he implies that the United States is a very diverse nation that is constantly changing. 
I have mentioned in previ…