Slate Names Jeff Chang and George Packer's Books Among the "Top 50 Nonfiction Titles of the Past 25 Years"
Announced today, Slate’s 50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Past 25 Years—recognizing the “definitive works of reporting, memoir, and argument of the past quarter-century”—includes award-winning work by two Lavin speakers: social historian Jeff Chang, and journalist George Packer.
Jeff Chang’s entry, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, offers a provocative look at the end of the last century through the lens of hip-hop. Also Chang’s first book, Can’t Stop showcased his radical historicism and academic chops, garnering him many honors—including the American Book Award. Filled with the stories of small-time heroes whose influence and creativity too often get overlooked, and the heavy hitters still recognized broadly, it’s both cultural and social history told with Chang’s signature idiosyncratic style. He firmly roots the hip-hop revolution in the sociopolitical context of 20th-century New York: a profoundly racist, economically cruel world at its boiling point; exploring a set of explosive circumstances still familiar today.
The Atlantic staff writer George Packer’s The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America explores American life over the past 35 years from the perspectives of unknown Americans, as well as some of our most prominent figures. Winner of the National Book Award, it was called a “professional work of journalism that also happens to be more intimate and textured—and certainly more ambitious—than most contemporary works of U.S. fiction dare to be,” by The Los Angeles Times. In it, Packer shares his vast knowledge of America: why things happened like they did, and how we can build a more equitable nation when infrastructure and fair-minded guidance is lacking. The Unwinding creates a space to contemplate how people in different circumstances experience and react to their versions of America falling apart.