This is one of six books recommended in order to understand how Trump won the presidential election. I’ve never really read political books prior to this year, and only in recent years have I taken a real interest in our country’s politics (I guess this is growing up). This being said, I expected this book, along with the other five I’d read over the course of this year to be thoroughly antagonizing and a great test of the breadth of my empathy. But maybe that was just me falling into the Us vs. Them beliefs Trump has been screaming for what feels like an eternity.
The Unwinding was nothing like I feared it would be. In fact, I was blown away by how immersive and relatable it was. It talked about areas of the US and types of Americans who I am familiar with! After months of feeling like I didn’t know family, friends, and peers as well as I did considering their love of Trump, it was nice to read a book that covers so many different Americans and so many different struggles and experiences and be able to feel for and relate to so many of them.
This book covers an incredible amount of ground, and I think stepping back as far in time as it does really helps to show how these issues of today have been brewing for decades. Likewise, showing a wide range of Americans and their struggles and successes is a great way of making all of these problems and different lifestyles real and accessible. I empathized with people in this book who I previously only saw as stereotypes. And I walked away from this book understanding how their hardships and the responses they got to them led to where we are today.
While this is a long book with several lengthy chapters, Packer’s flexible narrative voice that bends to match each person and their story makes it an extremely accessible and enjoyable read. Its accessibility and ability to be easily digested really makes these political issues feel within the grasp of the average American’s understanding. I think people from all backgrounds could sit down and find something that speaks to them in this book and helps them understand people who they previously have disagreed with or only seen very simply.
Author(s): George Packer
Overall Rating: 5/5
Format Accessed: iBook
Imprint: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux