Dear Great Book Guru, What great fun we had this week at Sea Cliff's many Fourth of July related celebrations. My favorite is always the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the Library. Carol Vogt and her committee do a super job every year and this was no exception. While on the refreshment line - love those Grassroots' muffins- I heard someone mention having just finished a book about the changing state of America told through a series of short biographies. It sounded interesting to read on this holiday weekend. Any thoughts? Summer Patriot
Dear Summer Patriot, Yes, I know the book: George Packer's THE UNWINDING: The Inner History of the New America. This is a very sad, very disturbing book, but worthwhile and beautifully written. In its essence, "unwinding" is the coming apart of all that has kept the country together: economically, politically, and morally. While America has undergone unwinding in the past and emerged stronger than ever, this time he sees major differences that do not auger well for the future. He traces the lives of three citizens all born in the 1960's who are struggling to reinvent themselves in a changing America, a country he sees as Walmartized- cheap goods, low salaries, and huge profits for the very few- as an example, the six Walmart heirs have more money than the entire bottom 30% of the population. Interspersed with the tales of these three, are ten short biographical sketches of modern day icons, some virtuous (Elizabeth Warren) but most - if not villainous- complicit (Oprah Winfrey, Joe Biden, Colin Powell, Robert Rubin, Sam Walmart) in Packer's view. Certainly not light holiday reading, but highly recommended!