George Packer: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century


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From his days as a young adviser in Vietnam to his last efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke embodied the postwar American impulse to take the lead on the global stage. Journalist George Packer took Town Hall’s stage to relate Holbrooke’s ambitious, headstrong narrative in Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century. Through Holbrooke, Packer shared the story of America during its era of supremacy: its strength, drive, and sense of possibility, as well as its penchant for overreach and heedless self-confidence. With insight drawn from Holbrooke’s diaries and papers, Packer offered us an intimate narrative about this extraordinary and deeply flawed man and the elite spheres of society and government he inhabited.

George Packer is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, which was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2013 National Book Award. His other nonfiction books include The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize, and Blood of the Liberals, winner of the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

Recorded live at The Forum at Town Hall Seattle on May 22, 2019.

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