Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal
Journalist and two-time Pulitzer Price finalist George Packer suspects a lot of Americans are a lot like him, unhappy with their country’s divisions and uninclined to attach to any particular ideological tribe. Therein, he says, lies hope for the future.
In a discussion of his new book Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal, Packer sorts through our disagreements to find to a common identity: a yearning for equality, the “hidden code” that Americans of diverse persuasions have held for centuries. That’s our point of national convergence.
People also “need to get out of their own bubbles and force themselves to be among people who we don’t think we like and figure out who they are,” Packer says. Perhaps put in a year or two of civilian or military service to the country. Or return civics to our educational menu, teaching “not just what’s in the Constitution but how to listen, debate, argue, disagree, compromise – essential skills of democratic citizens. We’ve lost those skills.”
Packer is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of three previous, highly decorated books. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, earned a National Book Award for nonfiction in 2006. The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq was a Pulitzer finalist in 2013, and Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century was a finalist in 2020.