Sometimes a subject is so intricate it can be properly addressed only in a 400-plus page book. Sometimes that book is so well-organized and compelling that it only burnishes the author’s justly-deserved sterling reputation.
This is not one of those times. “The Unwinding’’ is perhaps New Yorker writer George Packer’s worst nonfiction book. That is, however, not hugely insulting. Packer’s 2005 book “The Assassins’ Gate’’ still stands as a fantastic chronicle of America’s descent into Iraq. A 2000 book called “Blood of the Liberals’’ that he wrote is nearly as impressive. But “The Unwinding,’’ while well-written, intelligent, and frequently engaging, falls short of those achievements.