Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal, by george packer, farrar, straus and giroux, 240 pages, $27

Many Americans experience this country’s social, cultural, and political scene as an unremitting dumpster fire. Our society is torn between competing visions of the good life. Our cultural institutions are increasingly dysfunctional and unable to inspire confidence. As a result, many find it easy to lose hope in the American experiment.

Thus George Packer’s Last Best Hope meets a felt need among many American citizens. He offers a serious socio-cultural analysis of our society that eventuates in a measured hope for the future of our great nation. In his view, “America is no longer a light unto the nations”—a fact recognized by many or most Americans—and we must do something to redeem ourselves as a country.  …

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