Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade

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Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade

by George Packer

Farrar, Straus And Giroux | November 9, 2010 | Trade Paperback |

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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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 432 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.79 in

Published: November 9, 2010

Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0374532524

ISBN - 13: 9780374532529

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– More About This Product –

Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade

by George Packer

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 432 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.79 in

Published: November 9, 2010

Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0374532524

ISBN - 13: 9780374532529

Read from the Book

1 In the minutes after the South Tower fell on September 11, 2001, an in­vestment banker had an epiphany. Having escaped with his life just ahead of the collapse, he wandered through the smoke and confusion of lower Manhattan until he found himself in a church in Greenwich Village. Alone at the altar, covered in ash and dust, he began to shake and sob. Feeling a hand on his shoulder, he looked up. It was a policeman. “Don’t worry,” the cop said, “you’re in shock.” “I’m not in shock,” the investment banker answered. “I like this state. I’ve never been more cognizant in my life.” Around the same time that the banker noticed his changed conscious­ness and a hundred blocks north, I thought, or felt, because there were really no words yet: Maybe this will make us better. That was all; I didn’t know what it meant. The feeling made me ashamed because it seemed insuf.ciently horror-stricken. But like any repressed feeling, it continued to lurk. And in the hours and days that followed, it seemed to be borne out on the streets of New York. I spent most of two days sitting on a sidewalk in downtown Brooklyn, waiting to give blood with hundreds of other people. I had long conversa­tions with those near me, in the temporary intimacy between strangers that kept breaking out all over the city. There was Matthew Timms, a twenty-eight-year-old unemployed video producer who had tried to . lm the attacks f
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From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

George Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of several books, most recently The Assassins' Gate (FSG, 2005). His reporting has won four Overseas Press Club awards.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Interesting Times “George Packer is a modern-day George Orwell. Like the author of Homage to Catalonia , the places he writes about are never stages for personal or ideological heroism. They are always real and full of frustrating facts that expose both liberal and conservative absolutism as reckless attempts to deny reality. Interesting Times should be read not just as an antidote to contemporary media poison, but as a testament to the values of moral seriousness in a troubled age.” —Jed Lipinski, The Village Voice “This volume coheres better than most in the genre. That’s because Packer has a far more coherent worldview than most reporters . . . Interesting Times seems an inapt title, ironic and detached in ways that Packer is simply not. But his is the good kind of attachment, self-aware and self-reflective. He writes, ‘One can only be honest about having a point of view while remaining open to aspects of reality—the human faces and voices—that might demolish it.’ In his best work, reality is haunting, indeed.” —Franklin Foer , The New York Times Book Review   Praise for The Assassins’ Gate “In reading [Packer] we see the staggering gap between abstract ideas and concrete reality.” —Fareed Zakaria, The New York Times Book Review “Masterful . . . Packer’s sketch of the prewar debates is subtle, sharp and poignant . . . His reporting from Iraq was always good
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