George Packer at the 2013 Texas Book Festival
|Born||August 13, 1960
Santa Clara, California
|Spouse(s)||Michele Millon (?-?)
Laura Secor (present)
George Packer (born August 13, 1960) is an American journalist, novelist, and playwright. He is perhaps best known for his writings for The New Yorker about U.S. foreign policy and for his related book The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq. More recently he wrote The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, covering the history of America from 1978 to 2012. That book won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in November 2013.
Life and career
Packer was born in Santa Clara, California. Packer's parents, Nancy (née Huddleston) and Herbert Packer, were both academics at Stanford University; his maternal grandfather was George Huddleston, Jr., a congressman from Alabama. His great-grandfather, George Huddleston, Sr., was also a congressman from Alabama in the earlier part of the 20th Century. His sister, Ann Packer, is also a writer. His father was Jewish and his mother was from a Christian background. Packer graduated from Yale College, where he lived in Calhoun College, in 1982, and served in the Peace Corps in Togo. His essays and articles have appeared in Boston Review, The Nation, World Affairs, Harper's, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, among other publications. Packer was a columnist for Mother Jones and has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since May 2003.
Packer was a Holtzbrinck Fellow Class of Fall 2009 at the American Academy in Berlin.
His book The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq analyzes the events that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and reports on subsequent developments in that country, largely based on interviews with ordinary Iraqis. He was a supporter of the Iraq war. He was a finalist for the 2004 Michael Kelly Award.
A more recent book, "The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America," focuses on the ways that America changed in the years 1978-2012. The book achieves this mainly by tracing the lives of various individuals from different backgrounds through the years. Interspersed are capsule biographies of influential figures of the time such as Colin Powell, Elizabeth Warren, Jay-Z and Raymond Carver.
He is married to Laura Secor and was previously married to Michele Millon.
Awards and honors
- The Village of Waiting (1988). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1st Farrar edition, 2001). Pb. ISBN 0-374-52780-6
- The Half Man (1991). Random House ISBN 0-394-58192-X
- Central Square (1998). Graywolf Press ISBN 1-55597-277-2
- Blood of the Liberals (2000). Farrar, Straus and Giroux ISBN 0-374-25142-8
- The Fight is for Democracy: Winning the War of Ideas in America and the World (2003, as editor). Harper Perennial. Pb. ISBN 0-06-053249-1
- The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq (2005) Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2005 ISBN 0-374-29963-3
- Betrayed: A Play (2008) Faber & Faber
- Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade (2009). ISBN 978-0-374-17572-6
- The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (2013). ISBN 978-0-374-10241-8
- Packer, George (28 September 2009). "A Reporter at Large: The Last Mission". The New Yorker 85 (30): 38–55. Retrieved 22 February 2010. [Richard Holbrooke's plan to avoid the mistakes of Vietnam in Afghanistan].
- Packer, George (15 March 2010). "A Reporter at Large: Obama's Lost Year". The New Yorker 86 (4): 40–51.
- Packer, George (12 September 2011). "A Reporter at Large: Coming Apart". The New Yorker. Retrieved 23 September 2011. [An assessment of the post 9/11 decade]
- Packer, George (27 May 2013). "A Reporter at Large: Change the World". The New Yorker. Retrieved 28 May 2013. (subscription required)
- Columbia Journalism Review September 2005, http://www.cjr.org/issues/2005/5/glenn.asp.
- 1982 Yale Banner p. 377.
- Columbia Journalism Review op. cit.
- "Finalist: George Packer (Biography)". The Michael Kelly Award.
- Clare Swanson (November 20, 2013). "2013 National Book Awards Go to McBride, Packer, Szybist, Kadohata". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- "James McBride, George Packer win National Book Awards". The Washington Post. November 21, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
Magazine articles About the Iraq War
- Over Here: Iraq the Place vs. Iraq the Abstraction, World Affairs
- Comment: "No Blame, No Shame", The New Yorker, May 14, 2007.
- A Reporter at Large: "Betrayed" The Iraqis who trusted America the most, The New Yorker, March 26, 2007.
- "Knowing the Enemy", The New Yorker, December 18, 2006.
- Comment: "Unrealistic", The New Yorker, November 27, 2006.
- "Save Whomever We Can", The New Republic, November 27, 2006.
- Comment: "Alternative Realities", The New Yorker, October 30, 2006.
- Comment: "Keep Out", The New Yorker, October 16, 2006.
- Comment: "Prisoners", The New Yorker, September 18, 2006.
- Comment: "Not Wise", The New Yorker, May 8, 2006.
- Letter from Iraq: "The Lesson of Tal Afar" April 10, 2006.
- Comment: "Saddam on Trial", The New Yorker, October 31, 2005.
- Comment: "Game Plan", The New Yorker, October 24, 2005.
- Comment: "Name Calling", The New Yorker August 8, 2005.
- A Reporter at Large: "The Home Front", The New Yorker, July 4, 2005.
- Letter from Basra: "Testing the Ground", The New Yorker, February 28, 2005.
- Comment: "Invasion versus Persuasion", The New Yorker, December 20, 2004.
- Comment: "Questions of Greatness", The New Yorker, October 25, 2004.
- A Reporter at Large: "The Next Iraqi War?", The New Yorker October 4, 2004.
- Comment: "The Political War", The New Yorker, September 27, 2004.
- Letter from Athens: "From the Playing Field", The New Yorker, August 30, 2004.
- Comment: Wars and Ideas, The New Yorker, July 5, 2004.
- Letter from Baghdad: "Caught in the Crossfire", The New Yorker, May 17, 2004.
- "War after the War" What Washington doesn't see in Iraq., The New Yorker, November 24, 2003.
- Tuning In: A Butcher in Baghdad, The New Yorker, April 7, 2003.
- "Dreaming of Democracy", New York Times Magazine, March 2, 2003.
- George Packer at FSG
- Blog at the New Yorker
- Biography of Packer at The New Yorker
- Comment: "Mr. Independent", The New Yorker July 2, 2007
- "The Megacity - Decoding the Chaos of Lagos", The New Yorker, November 13, 2006.
- "The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged", Mother Jones, May/June 2004. (Issue on the limitations of the political blogosphere)
- George Packer on Assassins' Gate, Washington Post Book World, October 11, 2005.
- Posts by George Packer at TPMCafe.
- Review of The Assassins' Gate, The Washington Monthly.
- Profile in the Columbia Journalism Review.
- Review of Stephen Koch, “The Breaking Point: Hemingway, dos Passos, and the Murder of Jose Robles”