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Blood of the Liberals

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  77 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
An acclaimed journalist and novelist explores the legacy and future of American liberalism through the history of his family's politically active history

George Packer's maternal grandfather, George Huddleston, was a populist congressman from Alabama in the early part of the century--an agrarian liberal in the Jacksonian mold who opposed the New Deal. Packer's father was a
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published August 1st 2000)
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Aug 28, 2013 Clif rated it it was amazing
Remember Tina Turner telling us in Proud Mary that she was going to start out easy, but she was going to end rough? So it is with this book that has what starts as a routine history take fire.

George Packer wonders about the father that he barely knew, who had a disabling stroke when George was a young boy and who died not long after. He looks back into family history to see if he can establish a thread that will tell him something about America, his own family, and himself. That thread is libera
Carol Storm
Jan 12, 2015 Carol Storm rated it did not like it
This book was a terrible disappointment.

No author -- at least no non-fiction author -- should ever put "blood" in the title unless they really mean business. Unless they really intend to present true facts about the suffering of real people who made the ultimate sacrifice in a worthy cause.

That's not what this book is about at all. There are no heroes. There are no martyrs. There's just a whole lot of clamorous posturing and revisionist history. All of it as dry as dust, too.

Packer represents
Feb 11, 2010 Geoff rated it really liked it
The protagonist in the first half is acutally my great-grandfather by birth. It was not easy being a liberal in the deep south circa 19th century.
Feb 15, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it

This is a really wonderful book about family, politics, generations of liberalism and what liberalism really means.

Lightly written, that is to say not ponderous or pretentious or dense.

Packer tells the story of his maternal branch of Southern Democrats and paternal branch of New York Jewish intelligentsia coming together into his own personal well as, of course, the political history of American politics today.

You get the story of his struggles with his own personal family's histo
Jan 22, 2016 Michael rated it it was ok I loved George Packer's recent book The Unwinding, so I thought I'd give this one a shot. Packer is a good writer, but I only got about 70 pages in before I realized that I just didn't give a shit. This book is a history of his family's devotion to liberalism, spanning from the Progressive Era to about 2000. Whatever.
May 12, 2015 John rated it it was amazing
I’m a big Packer fan, ever since I started reading his articles in The New Yorker and his book, Assassin’s Gate about Iraq war. The Blood of Liberals doesn't disappoint. Part history, part family memoir, it’s the story about the development of contemporary liberalism as we know it today has traced through Packer’s maternal grandfather, George Huddleston, his father, Herbert Packer and his own ideological journey. Each of the periods takes up approximately one-third of the book, but the most ...more
Jul 17, 2008 Jesse rated it it was amazing
I'm hoping to go back and re-read this one at some point, though it certainly isn't something one can breeze through. I love how the author blends the history of the liberal political movement in this country with his own family's political and personal history. I also related to his stories of trying to figure out his own beliefs, both politically and spiritually. His account of losing his father is truly touching. I am still hoping to check out more of George Packer's books in the near future.
Sep 01, 2016 Pam rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a very well written history of the Packer family. Author's grandfather on his mom's side of the family was a Populist Southern Baptist from Birmingham, AL who served as a Congressman in the House of Representatives. His father was a Jewish son of immigrants who became a Stanford professor in the 1960's. The author included his own political development.

I felt I leaned new ideas as well as evaluating old ideas. The book inspired my hopes for continuation of liberal, populist-progressive
Jun 09, 2008 Colin rated it really liked it
Shelves: jalc-era, nonfiction
A powerful account of the political and personal examining (and empathizing with) successive generations caught on the wrong side of history by their adherence to principle. In recognizing both past liberal achievements and the potential for future projects it's a inspiration to cure disaffection.
May 17, 2007 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the best book I have ever read. A fascinating story that tells about George Packer's family history and the rise and fall of American liberalism and reform movements. Pick it!
Dave Peticolas
Oct 08, 2014 Dave Peticolas rated it liked it
Packer reviews the last century or so of liberalism through the biographies of his father and grandfather.
Brian rated it it was ok
Sep 28, 2007
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Mar 26, 2007
Vernon rated it it was amazing
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Feb 20, 2012
Angelica rated it it was amazing
Feb 07, 2010
John Daut
John Daut rated it really liked it
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Dawn rated it it was amazing
Feb 08, 2012
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Jul 27, 2007
Justine rated it it was ok
Apr 24, 2010
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Nov 23, 2013
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Sep 21, 2007
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Ken Perkins
Ken Perkins rated it really liked it
Feb 09, 2009
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Daniel rated it it was ok
Jan 08, 2008
Feb 26, 2008 Jens rated it it was amazing
I gave this to my family.
Heath rated it liked it
Nov 28, 2007
Aaron Button
Aaron Button rated it liked it
May 06, 2009
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