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George Packer: America’s 'Last Best Hope'

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Journalist and author George Packer is one of the country’s most astute observers of American society – with all of its flaws. But after years of reporting on our decline, Packer experienced a new feeling while writing his latest book: hope.

In Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal, George Packer writes that American society can be defined by four narratives. There’s “Free America,” dominated by wealthy entrepreneurs. “Smart America” is the enclave of the educated, elite class — the beneficiaries of Amazon Prime, Lipitor, and cold brew coffee. “Real America” is made up of Christians and White farmers, people who work with their hands and often fight the country’s wars. And finally comes “Just America,” those who focus on identity and an America divided into victims or oppressors. Each narrative, Packer claims, has something of value to offer, but none alone will nurture democracy. So, what might a fifth narrative look like? George Packer joins us this Friday at noon, and Saturday at 11am, to talk about Last Best Hope. (Rebroadcast)

Original air date: Friday, July 30, 2021 at noon. Rebroadcast: Friday, Dec. 17 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

George Paker's book is Last Best hope: America in Crisis and Renewal. [IndieBound|Amazon|AudibleBookshop]