April 7, 2004 - Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Blood of the Liberals By Togo RPCV George Packer

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Togo: Peace Corps Togo : The Peace Corps in Togo: April 7, 2004 - Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Blood of the Liberals By Togo RPCV George Packer

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Blood of the Liberals By Togo RPCV George Packer

Blood of the Liberals By Togo RPCV George Packer

Blood of the Liberals By Togo RPCV George Packer

Blood of the Liberals

By George Packer

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
August 2000; $26.00US/$41.00CAN; 0-374-25142-8

George Packer's maternal grandfather was a populist congressman from Alabama in the early part of the century -- an agrarian liberal in the Jeffersonian mold who began his career fighting the forces of wealth and ended it opposing the New Deal. Packer's Jewish father was a Kennedy-era liberal, a law professor and administrator at Stanford whose convictions were fatally tested in the campus upheavals of the 1960's. The inheritor of two sometimes conflicting strains of the great American liberal tradition, Packer explores the ideals that shaped the lives of his forebears and describes his own struggle to carry on their tradition in our time, when large numbers of Americans have lost faith in politics.

From the ironworks of Birmingham, Alabama, during the age of the robber barons to the postindustrial labs of Silicon Valley, Blood of the Liberals traces the intersection between public issues and private troubles, large historical currents and the frailties of individual character. "The story of each generation of my family" Packer writes, "is in a way the story of an inherited idea crashing up against the hard rock of new circumstance." Both a critique of liberalism and an affirmation of it, Blood of Liberals gives a political voice to a new generation that has grown up without the certainties of earlier ones.

Searching, engrossing, and persuasive, this is an original, intimate examination of the meaning of politics in American lives.


George Packer is a journalist (The Village of Waiting) and novelist (The Half Man and Central Square) whose articles and essays have appeared in Harper's, Dissent, Double Take, The New York Times, The 1997 Pushcart Prize anthology, and The Art of the Essay. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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"With thoughtful compassion and scrupulous decency, George Packer has written a stunningly honest, necessary memoir of his family, which doubles as a political history of the last hundred years. Parts of it have the absorbing quality of a murder mystery or a horror film: you cringe at the collision of good intentions and bad judgment, wanting to yell out to the participants, 'No! don't!' -- only to realize their confusions mirror uncannily your own. An admirable work of conscience and literary art." --Phillip Lopate

"I've never read a book quite like George Packer's Blood of Liberals. More than a learned history and revealing memoir, it's also an unsentimental but deeply felt love letter to the father he barely knew and the grandfather he never met. Packer shows American liberals where we've been and where we must go by sharing his story -- a story that is heartbreaking, hopeful, and beautifully drawn." --George Stephanopoulos

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Story Source: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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