The Nineties

Book cover of The Nineties by Chuck KlostermanIt 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 Perot while another was plausibly decided by Ralph Nader. In the beginning, hardly anyone had a cell phone, but every name was listed in something called a phone book unless you paid to keep it out. Everyone answered their landline because you didn't know who it was. By the end, it was a country where most middle-class adults had cell phones, exposing your address without permission was an act of emotional violence, and nobody picked up a ringing phone receiver because you didn't know who it was.

In The Nineties, Chuck Klosterman makes a home in all of it: the film, the music, the sports, the TV, the politics, the changes regarding race and class and sexuality, the yin/yang of Oprah and Alan Greenspan. In perhaps no other book ever written could the sentence, "The video for 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' was not more consequential than the reunification of Germany" make complete sense. Chuck Klosterman has written a multi-dimensional masterpiece, a work of synthesis so smart and delightful that future historians might well refer to this entire period as Klostermanian.

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