Watching a superpower slowly crumble

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer. Faber and Faber, €25.20. Reviewed by Peter Geoghegan.

22nd June, 2013
George Packer's book casts an eye over the employment crisis in America and the examples provided by some of its public figures, such as Oprah and rapper Jay-Z. Photo: Bloomberg

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On Monday, September 19, 1977, Lykes Corporation of New Orleans announced that, by the end of the week, it would close Campbell Works, the largest mill in the blue-collar Ohio city of Youngstown. That day, which became known locally as 'Black Monday', was the latest in a long line of body blows for a once prosperous city.

By the late 1980s, Youngstown, with a population of less than 100,000, was among the top ten cities in the...

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