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The Nineties

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  6,644 ratings  ·  1,025 reviews
The Nineties: a wise and funny reckoning with the decade that gave us slacker/grunge irony about the sin of trying too hard, during the greatest shift in human consciousness of any decade in American history.

It was long ago, but not as long as it seems: The Berlin Wall fell and the Twin Towers collapsed. In between, one presidential election was allegedly decided by Ross
...more
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published February 8th 2022 by Penguin Press
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Miss M I think George Packer’s The Unwinding covers that somewhat, though maybe a little later than the time period you’re looking for. Also, Alwyn Turner ha…moreI think George Packer’s The Unwinding covers that somewhat, though maybe a little later than the time period you’re looking for. Also, Alwyn Turner has some interesting social histories of the 80s/90s but they’re UK-focused. And there’s Rick Pearlstein’s Reaganland in the 80s.(less)

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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Nataliya
Mar 15, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The nineties is a decade that seems so recent, and yet in so many ways it was a very different world. The last few years before the ubiquitousness of internet changed the way we think and process endless information overload; the last few years of landlines supremacy (“There are no statistics illustrating how rare it was for someone to ignore a ringing telephone in 1990. This is because such a question would never have been asked (or even pondered). To do so was unthinkable”). The time when a CD ...more
Regina
Apr 16, 2022 rated it really liked it
I have a hunch you already know if you have any interest in reading Chuck Klosterman’s latest topical deep dive, but here’s a handy checklist just in case you’re not sure The Nineties is for you:

- Did you have the phone on its cover?

- Do you enjoy books that might be assigned in college courses like Media Studies or History of the Twentieth Century?

That’s it. That’s the entire list. If you didn’t answer a resounding yes to either one of those questions, keep browsing. Since I was a yes for bot
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Blaine
Jan 07, 2022 rated it really liked it
Update 2/8/22: Reposting my review to celebrate that today is publication day!
The texture is what mattered. The feeling of the era, and what that feeling supposedly signified, isolates the nineties from both its distant past and its immediate future. It was a period of ambivalence, defined by an overwhelming assumption that life, and particularly American life, was underwhelming. That was the thinking at the time.
It is not the thinking now.
Now the 1990s seem like a period when the world was star
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Jamie
Sep 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is EXCELLENT. I loved the Chuck Klosterman of my twenties, but I ADORE the version of him in my forties. As someone born in 1980, I'm of that weird period/microgeneration of people who don't identify as Gen Xers or Millennials, but this book that covers my adolescence and teenage years completely spoke to me on an almost molecular level. I sent a dozen screen shots of passages to my friends, and I devoured this book in one long lazy day. I've often said that Chuck Klosterman is one of the f ...more
Book Clubbed
Mar 22, 2022 rated it liked it
The Nineties is a collection of twelve essays, ostensibly about the cultural and political moments that defined the decade, but also a work that serves as Klosterman's playground for musings about generational framings, how culture tethers to public consciousness, and how our modern understanding of the 90s formed over time.

As a child of the nineties, there is a certain nostalgic joy that is inherent with a tour of this time period. Like any decade you grow up in, it has the illusion of a simpl
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Brandice
Apr 13, 2022 rated it liked it
I was a child of the 1990s and reading this book was a nostalgic trip down memory lane. I was too young to grasp many events as they occurred — the O.J. Simpson trial and Bill Clinton’s presidency, to name a few — but others, like Michael Jordan’s utter dominance in the sports world and waiting for the connection to “get on” the internet were more familiar. Other fun references in The Nineties include Seinfeld, landline phones, Titanic, the (widely agreed upon as irrational) fear surrounding Y2K ...more
Krista
Oct 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The feeling of the era, and what that feeling supposedly signified, isolates the nineties from both its distant past and its immediate future. It was a period of ambivalence, defined by an overwhelming assumption that life, and particularly American life, was underwhelming. That was the thinking at the time. It is not the thinking now. Now the 1990s seem like a period when the world was starting to go crazy, but not so crazy that it was unmanageable or irreparable. It was the end of the twent
...more
Ang
Sep 06, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can no longer remember why I loved Chuck Klosterman's writing. I don't know if he got too smart, or I got too dumb...or vice versa? But I found this book impenetrably weird and genuinely don't understand what points he was trying to make about, well, anything. ...more
Krista Rausch
Jan 31, 2022 rated it it was ok
Listen, assigning a grade to a Chuck Klosterman book is kind of ridiculous. Such scores are supposed to signal to other people the value you’ve placed on a book and whether they should read it. But with Klosterman in particular, each reader’s relationship to his writing seems distinctively unique. A five-star rating is going to mean next-to-nothing to an ardent detractor, while his biggest cheerleaders would write off a one-star rating as the opinion of a person who just “doesn’t get it.” Neithe ...more
Tracy
Feb 07, 2022 rated it liked it
I am GenX. I was in my teens and early twenties during the nineties. I still love Nirvana and Guns n Roses. I remember Blockbuster fondly. I even had the phone on the cover of this book on my desk while I did my homework and wrote my term papers. And speaking of term papers, that is exactly what this book reads like… the author had to pick a decade and write a term paper on it. I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t really enjoy most of it. It was well-written and well-researched, but so dry. I loved ...more
Tom Quinn
Apr 08, 2022 rated it really liked it
I was around for the 90s, but I wasn't really there. By way of illustration here are three 90s events and where I was at the time:

-The OJ Simpson verdict found me on the playground playing Butts Up. My primary feeling was relief; now they'd quit wheeling the TV into class for boring courtroom footage.

-The Clinton BJ scandal broke in my middle school homeroom via Channel One News. Far from any concern of political blowback, I wondered why any grownup would opt for a blowjob— couldn't they just do
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Morgan
Oct 05, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think I was expecting more of, well, a fun nostalgia trip through the Nineties supported by witty modern prose. Instead, this is painfully boring and meandering. Major events through music, politics, movies, and the news are covered, but there is no real flow to the "story" progression. I've been interested in reading Klosterman for awhile now, but I think I'm going to walk that urge back. As for the Nineties, maybe they're best covered on VH1.


ARC provided by NetGalley
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Stewart Tame
Jan 09, 2022 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

As the title would suggest, this is a look back at the 1990s, mostly with regard to what was happening in the USA at the time. I don't think I can summarize the book better than this paragraph from the back cover of the ARC (it will likely end up on the front jacket flap when the hardcover is released. ):

"It was long ago, but not as long as it seems: The Berlin Wall fell and the Twin Towers collapsed. In between, one preside
...more
Todd
Mar 09, 2022 rated it really liked it
Welcome back to the nineties. (Again.) We certainly seem to be making a lot of trips back there these days. With that, we know we are going through a moment of cultural nostalgia, if we are not fully in the throes of a culture of nostalgia.

In any case, with this entry into the burgeoning literature, Chuck Klosterman weaves his recollections and considerations into the expanding nostalgic collective consciousness. This is unapologetically a work of a member of Generation X, who knows others have
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Matthew
Feb 19, 2022 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I’ve been in a March Madness pool with Chuck Klosterman since the mid-aughts. We have several mutual friends, and we once met – via one of said mutual friends – at a Detroit bowling alley many moons ago. That said, I don’t claim to know Mr. Klosterman, per se, though there are few writers with whom I’ve ever related more.

This is likely due to age – Klosterman is just a few years older than yours truly – but, more granularly, as likely due to interests, many of which were influe
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Mehrsa
Apr 09, 2022 rated it it was ok
Chuck klosterman’s main thesis is that things were not then exactly as you see them now. Fine. Ok. But they also weren’t exactly as he saw them either. The 90s, according to this book, we’re just about the punk bands and movies CK loved and hated. I had a very different experience with the 90s—I mean he completely leaves out cultural phenomenal like hip hop, R&B, and Oprah??? He spends way more time talking about Nirvana than any of the other iconic musicians of the era. But that’s fine and even ...more
Nathan Shuherk
Mar 25, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Up at the top of my Klosterman books that I love. Have so much to say about this and will very likely reread at some point later this year. Favorite of the year so far by quite a margin. 5. Review coming to tiktok soon. Thank you Penguin Press for my review copy.
Umar Lee
Feb 09, 2022 rated it liked it
This book started rough for me. Chuck Klosterman spoke of the nineties being easy times and right then I knew exactly what the perspective was going to be- a telling of the decade from an exclusively white American middle-class lense. After all the nineties began with off the charts levels of violence in many of our cities as the Crack Epidemic was still raging and gang-banging was at an all time high (and responding to this mass incarceration bills were passed). This climate gave birth to class ...more
Kelly
This is my third recent nonfiction read that discusses how history can not be explored or understood as history until enough time has passed that we're no longer "living through" that history. See Music Is History and Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres. It likewise dovetails nicely into the work of podcasts like "History of the 90s" and "You're Wrong About."

Klosterman's book is an exploration of the actual history of the 1990s through politics and pop culture. It's fascinat
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Steve
Feb 04, 2022 rated it really liked it
You guys, reading this fascinating and insightful trip down memory lane felt like getting long-delayed therapy for something I didn't even know I needed therapy for. First of all, things have changed *a lot* since the 90s. Obviously! But it was helpful to contemplate the details of that with a considered guide. Also, that era shaped me, as a Gen Xer, in very specific ways that I hadn't been able to see entirely.

Thirdly, we think of today's era as being crazy (and, oh, it is!) but the 90s were c
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Erin
Mar 08, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't want to this to end. Such a fascinating look at a decade I mostly remember. Would highly recommend the audiobook. ...more
Nev
Mar 02, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2022, nonfiction
I love reading about the 90s. It’s the decade that I grew up in, but being a kid means that I missed out on a lot of the big news events and pop culture that was aimed at an older audience. I mostly really liked this book. It covered a lot of ground like the origin of the term Generation X, Nirvana, clear versions of sodas, the influence of the video store, OJ Simpson, Michael Jordan becoming a baseball player, social movements, politics, and so much more. It’s interesting to go back and analyze ...more
Hannah - The BookSirens Babe
May 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
Hello, nostalgia! I’ve missed you, old friend. As someone who was in their teens and early twenties during the 1990s, this book just brought back a flood of emotions. Chuck Klosterman is a new author for me, so it was interesting getting acquainted with his writing style. I like how personal this journey through the 90s is for him. There are notable event omissions, but not everything in the decade could have impacted everyone equally. As the last decade before the world changed significantly, i ...more
Truman32
Mar 12, 2022 rated it really liked it
Chuck Klosterman’s newest, The Nineties, dissects the 1990’s: a decade that seems not so long ago to my brain but looking at the wizened old man sorrowfully peering back at me in the bathroom mirror sheepishly sucking on a Werther’s candy probably is. Many of the items Klosterman goes over I remember: the slacker mindset that trying hard was selling out, watching Seinfeld and Friends on Thursday nights. The advent of the internet, and more. Other things I do not recall such as Klosterman’s retel ...more
Renata
Mar 14, 2022 rated it really liked it
I was in college when Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto came out and I LOVED it, it was one of the first things I read that made me realize you could discuss pop culture in a sort of serious way. And then I read more and learned that like, a lot of people were doing that and I found new favs, but I still have a soft spot for Klosterman. And I have a soft spot for 90s nostalgia as do I think most people who lived through it.

Overall I enjoyed reading this collection and learned
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Victor The Reader
Klosterman takes us back to the ‘90s decade, a time when everything in culture became more extreme. We learn about the events that defined, revolutionized and even shocked that era that include the Gen-Xers, the trial of O.J. Simpson, the rise of the internet and Y2K.

While it’s not told in a colorful, visual way as the cover kinda looks, it’s serious and compelling narrative is told with great passion that it manages to be very engaging. The ‘90s sure were a crazy time. A- (91%/Excellent)
Ken
Mar 12, 2022 rated it really liked it
The conceit of trying to explain the events, cultural milestones, and ephemera of the 90s from the decade's own perspective is a worthwhile endeavor. This is counter-programming the current trends of nostalgia porn and re-examining culture through our current worldview. This approach stirs up a bunch of memories and feelings without longing sentimentality or indignant shock. "ohh yeah, that's what it was like" was my predominant response.

I know I've said it before, but I used to be amazed at how
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Georgette
As I get older, I come to love Chuck Klosterman's work more and more. This was no exception, putting his spin on my other favorite decade. Never get bored with his writing. ...more
Peter Derk
Mar 28, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome, I don't really need to tell you which decade it's about or avoid spoilers because, well, human history is mostly a spoiler.

So the most useful thing is to talk about what makes this book unique, because it is unique among books that try to talk about a period in history. And I mean unique in a good way, not the way that, like, my mom cutting up my Ghostbusters t-shirt to make cleaning rags when I was a kid, was a "unique" way of getting cleaning rags.

I'm going to address the
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Charles John "Chuck" Klosterman is an American author and essayist whose work focuses on American popular culture. He has been a columnist for Esquire and ESPN.com and wrote "The Ethicist" column for The New York Times Magazine. ...more

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“The texture is what mattered. The feeling of the era, and what that feeling supposedly signified, isolates the nineties from both its distant past and its immediate future. It was a period of ambivalence, defined by an overwhelming assumption that life, and particularly American life, was underwhelming. That was the thinking at the time.
It is not the thinking now.
Now the 1990s seem like a period when the world was starting to go crazy, but not so crazy that it was unmanageable or irreparable. It was the end of the twentieth century, but also the end to an age when we controlled technology more than technology controlled us. People played by the old rules, despite a growing recognition that those rules were flawed. It was a good time that happened long ago, although not nearly as long ago as it seems.”
4 likes
“No stories were viral. No celebrity was trending. The world was still big. The country was still vast. You could just be a little person, with your own little life and your own little thoughts. You didn’t have to have an opinion, and nobody cared if you did or did not. You could be alone on purpose, even in a crowd.” 3 likes
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