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All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays

by George Orwell George Packer Keith Gessen

As a critic, George Orwell cast a wide net. Equally at home discussing Charles Dickens and Charlie Chaplin, he moved back and forth across the porous borders between essay and journalism, high art and low. A frequent commentator on literature, language, film, and drama throughout his career, Orwell turned increasingly to the critical essay in the 1940s, when his most important experiences were behind him and some of his most incisive writing lay ahead. All Art Is Propaganda follows Orwell as he demonstrates in piece after piece how intent analysis of a work or body of work gives rise to trenchant aesthetic and philosophical commentary. With masterpieces such as "Politics and the English Language" and "Rudyard Kipling" and gems such as "Good Bad Books," here is an unrivaled education in, as George Packer puts it, "how to be interesting, line after line."

The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq

by George Packer

As the death toll mounts in the Iraq War, Americans are agonizing over how the mess started and what to do now. George Packer, a staff writer at The New Yorker, joins the debate with his thoughtful book The Assassins' Gate. Packer describes himself as an ambivalent pro-war liberal "who supported a war [in Iraq] by about the same margin that the voting public had supported Al Gore." He never believed the argument that Iraq should be invaded because of weapons of mass destruction. Instead, he saw the war as a way to get rid of Saddam Hussein and build democracy in Iraq, in the vein of the U.S. interventions in Haiti and Bosnia. How did such lofty aims get so derailed? How did the U.S. get stuck in a quagmire in the Middle East? Packer traces the roots of the war back to a historic shift in U.S. policy that President Bush made immediately after 9/11. No longer would the U.S. be hamstrung by multilateralism or working through the UN. It would act unilaterally around the world--forging temporary coalitions with other nations where suitable--and defend its status as the sole superpower. But when it came to Iraq, even Bush administration officials were deeply divided. Packer takes readers inside the vicious bureaucratic warfare between the Pentagon and State Department that turned U.S. policy on Iraq into an incoherent mess. We see the consequences in the second half of The Assassins' Gate, which takes the reader to Iraq after the bombs have stopped dropping. Packer writes vividly about how the country deteriorated into chaos, with U.S. authorities in Iraq operating in crisis mode. The book fails to capture much of the debate about the war among Iraqis themselves--instead relying mostly on the views of one prominent Iraqi exile--but it is an insightful contribution to the debate about the decisions--and blunders--behind the war. --Alex Roslin

El desmoronamiento

by George Packer

Treinta años de declive americano: una crónica íntima de la nueva América El desmoronamiento narra los últimos treinta años de la historia de Estados Unidos, la época del declive americano, a través de las vidas de varias personas: Dean Price, hijo de granjeros, que se convierte en un abanderado de la nueva economía en el Sur rural; Tammy Thomas, una obrera del cinturón industrial del país que intenta sobrevivir al colapso de su ciudad; Jeff Connaughton, miembro del círculo político de Washington, que oscila entre el idealismo y el atractivo del dinero, y Peter Thiel, un multimillonario de Silicon Valley que cuestiona la importancia de internet y construye una visión radical del futuro. Packer entrelaza estas historias personales con perfiles biográficos de las grandes figuras públicas de la época, desde Newt Gingrich hasta el rapero Jay-Z, y con collages de titulares de periódico, lemas publicitarios y letras de canciones, que captan la evolución de los acontecimientos y sus corrientes subterráneas. El desmoronamiento es el retrato de una superpotencia a punto de derrumbarse, con élites que ya no son élite, instituciones que ya no funcionan y la gente corriente abandonada a su suerte. La historia narrativa y caleidoscópica de la nueva América es la obra más ambiciosa publicada en mucho tiempo. # Ganador del National Book Award 2013 # Uno de los mejores libros de 2013 según Amazon # Mejor libro de 2013 según NPR - Mejor libro político de 2013 según The Washington Post - Mejor libro DE 2013 según New Republic # Uno de los mejores libros de no ficción de 2013 según Publishers Weekly # Mejor libro de no ficción de 2013 según Kirkus Reviews Reseñas: «Un mirada profunda, iluminadora y en ocasiones aterradora a la complejidad del declive y a la duradera esperanza de una recuperación.» Vanessa Bush, Booklist «El desmoronamiento vibra, con pena, con indignación y con compasión. El talento de Packer es el del mejor Steinbeck. Ha escrito algo cercano a una obra maestra de la no ficción.» Dwight Garner, The New York Times «Packer es uno de los mejores escritores de no ficción norteamericanos, y teje un tapiz inolvidable. En su sensibilidad, El desmoronamiento está más cerca de una novela que de una obra de no ficción. Y eso lo hace mucho más potente.» Edward Luce, The Financial Times «Aunque El desmoronamiento es abiertamente un homenaje a la trilogía USA de Dos Passos, Packer intenta algo mucho más ambicioso y original. El libro, una versión épica de la historia de Estados Unidos entre 1978 y 2012, es una especie de fantasía, un conjunto de variaciones sobre temas sin el apoyo de una estructura. Un libro brillante e innovador que trasciende el periodismo y se convierte en literatura.» Michael Lind, Bookworld «Como ocurre con Orwell, cada frase de George Packer tiene el vigor de la fuerza moral. El desmoronamiento es un libro vehemente y poderoso que todo el mundo debería leer.» David Grann, autor de The Lost City of Z «La de Packer es una voz de una claridad y una compasión excepcionales, en la tradición de los reportajes que convierten lo cotidiano en extraordinario. Cuando nuestros descendientes contemplen las ruinas de este imperio moderno y remuevan los escombros de su cultura, estas voces serán los pequeños tesoros que perduren.» The Independent «El desmoronamiento tiene muchas de las cualidades de una novela. Una obra de periodismo tan lograda que es más íntima y más compleja -y desde luego más ambiciosa- que la mayoría de las obras de ficción. Lo que distingue El desmoronamiento es cuán completos son los retratos de Packer, su intención de mostrar los deseos y las debi

Facing Unpleasant Facts

by George Orwell George Packer

George Orwell was first and foremost an essayist, producing throughout his life an extraordinary array of short nonfiction that reflected--and illuminated--the fraught times in which he lived. "As soon as he began to write something," comments George Packer in his foreword, "it was as natural for Orwell to propose, generalize, qualify, argue, judge--in short, to think--as it was for Yeats to versify or Dickens to invent."Facing Unpleasant Facts charts Orwell's development as a master of the narrative-essay form and unites such classics as "Shooting an Elephant" with lesser-known journalism and passages from his wartime diary. Whether detailing the horrors of Orwell's boyhood in an English boarding school or bringing to life the sights, sounds, and smells of the Spanish Civil War, these essays weave together the personal and the political in an unmistakable style that is at once plainspoken and brilliantly complex.

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, First Edition

by George Packer

A riveting examination of a nation in crisis, from one of the finest political journalists of our generation.<P><P> American democracy is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, allowing unprecedented freedom while rending the social contract, driving the political system to the verge of breakdown, and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades in an utterly original way, with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives.<P> The Unwinding journeys through the lives of several Americans, including Dean Price, the son of tobacco farmers, who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city; Jeff Connaughton, a Washington insider oscillating between political idealism and the lure of organized money; and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who questions the Internet's significance and arrives at a radical vision of the future. Packer interweaves these intimate stories with biographical sketches of the era's leading public figures, from Newt Gingrich to Jay-Z, and collages made from newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and song lyrics that capture the flow of events and their undercurrents.<P> The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation. Packer's novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America is his most ambitious work to date. <P>National Book Award 2013

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