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Why I Write – SuperSalon with George Packer
August 4, 2021 at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT
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George Packer, author of the National Book Award-winning The Unwinding, Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century and, most recently, Last Best Hope, joins Morten Høi Jensen to discuss a life of writing, reporting, and thinking about America and its place in the world.
“What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art” – George Orwell, “Why I Write”
Like his exemplar George Orwell, the American writer George Packer has made an art of political writing and narrative non-fiction. Whether reporting from West Africa, war-torn Iraq, or the industrial heartland of America, Packer’s books and essays are never merely reportorial; they are studies in human character and motivation, brimming with novelistic detail and psychological insight.
Common to all of Packer’s work is a reckoning with the unraveling and unwinding of the postwar world—in particular, the decline of American exceptionalism and the destruction of the social order created by New Deal. What is the role of the reporter and essayist amid such large-scale changes? Following the conflagrations of 2016 and 2020 and the rise of a cold cultural war in America, what hope is there of listening and being listened to?
In this salon, George Packer is joined by Danish-American literary critic Morten Høi Jensen to discuss a life of writing, reporting, and thinking about America and its place in the world. Among the topics of discussion will be Packer’s reporting from the occupation of Iraq, his novel-like account of the life and times of U. S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke, Our Man, the National Book Award-winning The Unwinding, and his latest reflection on the state of America today, Last Best Hope.
George Packer: The Four Americas
George Packer: The End of the American Century
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