The Nineties: A Book (Unabridged)
An instant New York Times bestseller!
From the bestselling author of But What if We’re Wrong, 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 Perot while another was plausibly decided by Ralph Nader. In the beginning, almost every name and address was listed in a phone book, and everyone answered their landlines because you didn’t know who it was. By the end, exposing someone’s address was an act of emotional violence, and nobody picked up their new cell phone if they didn’t know who it was. The 90s brought about a revolution in the human condition we’re still groping to understand. Happily, Chuck Klosterman is more than up to the job.
Beyond epiphenomena like "Cop Killer" and Titanic and Zima, there were wholesale shifts in how society was perceived: the rise of the internet, pre-9/11 politics, and the paradoxical belief that nothing was more humiliating than trying too hard. Pop culture accelerated without the aid of a machine that remembered everything, generating an odd comfort in never being certain about anything. On a 90’s Thursday night, more people watched any random episode of Seinfeld than the finale of Game of Thrones. But nobody thought that was important; if you missed it, you simply missed it. It was the last era that held to the idea of a true, hegemonic mainstream before it all began to fracture, whether you found a home in it or defined yourself against it.
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 would a sentence like, “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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Pop-culture expert Chuck Klosterman will make you long for the days before everything went digital. In this fun, eye-opening look at the 1990s, the best-selling author remembers the decade as a time when music, culture, and technology felt like they were on the edge of something life-altering—even if people just didn’t know quite what it was yet. With his trademark wit and on-point references, Klosterman provides fun, in-depth analysis on topics ranging from science’s first cloned sheep to the phenomenon of “must-see TV” to the ins and outs of Major League Baseball. We’ve always loved Klosterman’s droll brand of Midwestern snark, and his narration is filled with laugh-out-loud moments. Audiobook veteran Dion Graham reads the footnotes, asides, and titles with his own brand of straight-faced humor. Lace up your combat boots and travel back in time.
Relatable and revealing
As a person born in 1980, this book is a delightful stroll down memory lane while also helping me understand the context around my formative years. It’s accessible to the casual reader, yet insightful and original when diving into the complexities of human nature and society.
An excellent audiobook!
Klosterman’s meandering style jumps from topic to topic with acerbic wit and insightful social commentary. A true bargain at twice the price!
This is a good book. Author reads.
It was nearly impossible for me not to like this book. I’m a huge fan of Chuck’s writing, I was born in 1984 and was allowed to watch as much tv as I wanted. I guess if Chuck Klosterman lost his mind or spiraled out of control on drugs and somehow got the book published anyways I might not have liked the book but now that I typed that it actually sounds like something dumb humans like myself would ascribe meaning to. Good read 10/10 recommend.