The Assassins' Gate also describes the place of the war in American life: the ideological battles in Washington that led to chaos in Iraq, the ordeal of a fallen soldier's family, and the political culture of a country too bitterly polarized to realize such a vast and morally complex undertaking. George Packer's first-person narrative combines the scope of an epic history with the depth and intimacy of a novel, creating a masterful account of America's most controversial foreign venture since Vietnam.
George Packer's maternal grandfather, George Huddleston, was a populist congressman from Alabama in the early part of the century--an agrarian liberal in the Jacksonian mold who opposed the New Deal. Packer's father was a Kennedy-era liberal, a law professor and dean at Stanford whose convictions were sorely--and ultimately fatally--tested in the campus upheavals of the 1960s. The inheritor of two sometimes conflicting strains of the great American liberal tradition, Packer discusses the testing of ideals in the lives of his father and grandfather and his own struggle to understand the place of the progressive tradition in our currently polarized political climate. Searching, engrossing, and persuasive, this is an original, intimate examination of the meaning of politics in American lives.
Whether exploring American policies in the wake of September 11, tracking a used T-shirt from New York to Uganda, or describing the ambivalent response in Appalachia to Obama, these essays hold a mirror up to our own troubled times and showcase Packer's unmistakable perspective, which is at once both wide-angled and humane.
Based on Packer's account in The New Yorker, Betrayed is a riveting and morally complex drama that explores in the Iraqis' own words the ways in which we have already abandoned them. It will have its world premiere in January 2008, off-Broadway at the Culture Project.