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Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade Paperback – Bargain Price, November 9, 2010

4 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, November 9, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Packer (The Assassins' Gate), staff writer for the New Yorker, creates an illuminating time capsule for a decade book-ended by the September 11 attacks and Barack Obama's rise to the presidency. Comprising previously published pieces, the book spotlights the biggest news—and blunders—in recent history as well as Packer's ability to ferret out important stories, perspectives and subjects elsewhere (e.g., a Sudanese intellectual and mystic hanged for sedition and apostasy who could have provided a nonviolent way forward for political Islam). Closer to home, a piece on stylistic differences between Obama and Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primaries is impressively timeless and could conceivably be consulted by historians in the next century. Packer's vivid scene setting and rich language are punctuated with flashes of mischief and humor, as when he ascribes Americans' political complacency to their seduction by iced latte, mutual fund, and The Sopranos. Despite the breadth of his topics, each essay is distinguished by its telling details and the depth of its insight. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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, but the book is even better, putting the reader at the side of Walter Benjamin’s angel of history, watching helplessly as the wreckage unfolds at his feet.” —Gideon Rose, The Washington Post Book World

“The most complete, sweeping, and powerful account of the Iraq War . . . [Packer] has depicted in stark colors the disillusionment of an entire nation.” —Keith Gessen, New York

“A deftly constructed and eloquently told account of the war’s origins and aftermath . . . Packer makes it deeply human and maddeningly vivid.” —Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Authoritative and tough-minded.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“A book that is not only relevant but discerning and provocative . . . [Packer] offers the vivid detail and balanced analysis that have made him one of the leading chroniclers of the Iraq war.” —Yonatan Lupu, San Francisco Chronicle


Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374532524
  • ASIN: B005Q71NYE
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,596,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Packer is an excellent writer that places current events in a deeper intellectual context than most of his peers. He doesn't just seek to report - he seeks to understand. In doing so, he produces a series of nonfiction pieces that hit at the heart of America's last decade.

There is a tragic coherence to Packer's worldview. He wants to see the world in clear moral terms like justice and democracy and equality; as a journalist, however, he encounters a complicated and unjust world. (In this regard - liberalism tempered by reality -- Packer is a bit like his literary hero, Orwell.) "Interesting Times" examines the friction between good intentions (the liberation of Iraq, philanthropy in Africa, Iraqis bravely helping Americans) and messy realities (American failures in Iraq, the limitations of philanthropic projects on African lives, Iraqi translators abandoned by the Western media despite their courageous work).

The writing is beautiful. The concepts are refreshing. A great read.
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By OT on February 17, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'll keep it brief:

Great collection of articles that span a number of subjects. I found it to be informative and in many places very well written.

In some ways it is provides these cross sections of some of our culture in that time period.

It was one of these books I couldn't put down until I was finished.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Zzzzzzzz. A rehash of the decade after 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it covers ground that has been so over-covered that I used it as a sleep-aide on nights I couldn't fall asleep. His newest book is much more vital and vibrant.
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