George Packer

George Packer
George Packer is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century and The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

    The Enemies of Writing

    A writer who’s afraid to tell people what they don’t want to hear has chosen the wrong trade.

  • Ashkan Shabani / Redux

    Killing Soleimani Was Worse Than a Crime

    It was a blunder.

  • Associated Press

    The Ulcer of Walter Flowers

    In 1974, one congressman lay awake at night, agonizing over impeachment.

  • Bettmann / Getty

    The Mafia Style in American Politics

    Roy Cohn connects the McCarthy era to the age of Trump across more than half a century.

  • Samantha Sais / Reuters

    The Michael Bennet Problem

    What does it say about American politics that the Colorado senator hasn’t managed to stand out in the presidential race?

  • Paul Spella

    When the Culture War Comes for the Kids

    Caught between a brutal meritocracy and a radical new progressivism, a parent tries to do right by his children while navigating New York City’s schools.

  • Jim Palmer / AP

    The Truth Teller

    Leslie Gelb never stopped asking himself what practical steps a foreign crisis or puzzle might require.  

  • Bryan Woolston / Reuters

    The Left Needs a Language Potent Enough to Counter Trump

    The president’s rhetoric is dangerously populist in nature, and the left doesn’t know how to fight it.

  • Brian Frank / Reuters

    Buttigieg Looks to Truman, Not Obama, on Foreign Policy

    The Democratic candidate is trying to reorient his party’s approach, tying international affairs back to the concerns of ordinary voters.

  • Oliver Munday

    Doublethink Is Stronger Than Orwell Imagined

    What 1984 means today

  • Bernard Bisson / Sygma / Getty; Luca Bruno; ...

    The End of the American Century

    What the life of Richard Holbrooke tells us about the decay of Pax Americana

  • Keystone / Getty

    Is America Undergoing a Political Realignment?

    A new Democratic coalition could be coming to power—but don’t count on it.

  • Joshua Roberts / Reuters

    The Throwback Democrat

    Sherrod Brown could help his party win back white working-class voters—but he’s out of sync with the mercilessness of American politics.

  • Bryan Woolston / AP

    The Covington Story Was a Collective American Nightmare

    It showed where America is, and where it’s going.

  • Frank Augstein / AP

    What Julian Assange and Donald Trump Have in Common

    They share enemies—and they use similarly nihilistic tactics toward similarly antidemocratic ends.

  • Gary Cameron / Reuters

    The Suicide of a Great Democracy

    A shutdown looks like the beginning of the end that Lincoln always knew was possible.

  • Rodi Said / Reuters

    No Peace for Them and No Honor for Us

    Trump’s withdrawal from Syria is most notable for its needless cruelty.

  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

    The Corruption of the Republican Party

    The GOP is best understood as an insurgency that carried the seeds of its own corruption from the start.

  • George Packer Responds to Ta-Nehisi Coates

    Joshua Roberts / Reuters

    There’s a lot to admire in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new essay. It’s one of those pieces that grabs you with its first paragraph and never lets go. The argument keeps gathering force, building on the striking imagery (“Trump cracked the glowing amulet open”) and the caustic scouring of the polemics (opioids are treated as a sickness, crack was punished as a crime), to the very end. At its heart is the undeniable truth that racism remains fundamental in American politics.

    It’s the overwhelming, the single cause that Coates finds for the phenomenon of Donald Trump. It’s a cause no one in America should ever bet against. And it shapes every premise Coates lays down. Because he takes all white American political behavior as undifferentiated and founded on the idea of race, he faults me for writing a preelection essay in The New Yorker about the white working class. Since a majority of all categories of white people ended up voting for Trump, why single out white voters without college degrees, unless it’s to absolve them of their racism by invoking other factors, like class? Or worse, to extend them sympathy, since they’ve fallen into the lower depths where, unlike black Americans, they don’t “naturally” belong? Or, worse still, to absolve myself?