The Best of Times: The Boom and Bust Years of America before and after Everything Changed

by Haynes Johnson, James H. Silberman

We were awash in money and spellbound by celebrity. We ogled at O. J., marveled over Monica, and sent the stock market soaring. It was a time of unprecedented wealth and possibility, it was a time of waste and squandered opportunities.

In the Best of Times (yes, the title is ironic), Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Haynes Johnson looks back on the decade when Bill Clinton and Bill Gates ran the country--and the rest of us sat back and downloaded it all off the Internet. He opens with a tense, exciting amount of chess master's Gary Kasparov's match with Deep Blue--a defeat of man by machine emblematic of a decade in which, as Thoreau said, we became "tools of [our] tools." He takes us through the work-obsessed halls of Microsoft, the lab that created Dolly the Sheep, and the Hollywood studios that operated on the mantra "dumb and dumber." The book is full of fresh insights into the headlines of the decade: the avalanche of wealth that rewarded some and passed many by; the societal schisms that could be seen from the O. J. Simpson trials to Congress.

With a sharp eye for the quote or detail that perfectly captures a moment in time, Johnson knows just how to tell this story. He serves up no-holds-barred portraits of the key players, for a sorrowful David Geffen, who assures us that movies will only get worse, to Monica Lewinsky as a monument to entitlement. What lies ahead? It's uncertain. We can only hope that Haynes Johnson is there to explain it to us when it happens.

The Best of Times, the product of four years of interviews with America's leaders in politics, business, and science, is in the best tradition of timeless social history--a memorable portrait of the nation at a turning point.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780156027014
  • ISBN-10: 0156027011
  • Pages: 672
  • Publication Date: 09/03/2002
  • Carton Quantity: 20
About the Book
About the Authors
Reviews
  • About the Book

    We were awash in money and spellbound by celebrity and scandal. It was a time of breathtaking strides in science and unprecedented possibility. A time of squandered opportunities and grave distraction. A time of tragic complacency and belief in our invulnerability.

    In The Best of Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Haynes Johnson looks back on the decade that defied anyone's expectations, for better or worse. With a sharp eye for the quote or detail that perfectly captures a moment in time, Johnson tells the whole story, no holds barred, of the roller-coaster, self-indulgent nineties when America paid no attention to gathering foreign storms or looming economic collapse.

    The product of four years of interviews with the decade's most influential players, this is in the best tradition of timeless social history--a memorable portrait of the entire wonderful yet woeful decade that ended in the cataclysmic flames of September 11.

    A James H. Silberman Book

    National Bestseller

    Now with a New Foreword, Afterword, and Postscript

    In offering this paperback edition of the bubble years, I hope the stories I tell of that newly old America will illuminate how in a few short years we went from the best of times to the worst of times. In my Afterword, I suggest what lessons we must learn from that experience to avoid further disasters and close the circle on some events that typified the period.

    --Haynes Johnson

    From the new Foreword

  • About the Author
  • Excerpts
  • Reviews

    PRAISE FOR THE BEST OF TIMES

    "Informed, balanced and . . . gripping. A vivid and reliable reminder of what we have been through."--The New York Times

    "Drawn with insight, care, and an excellent eye for detail . . . Johnson is among the most brilliant chroniclers of our times, and he scores again here."--The Boston Globe

    "A magnetic book that every thoughtful American will want to read."--Publishers Weekly

    "Beautifully written . . . As full of juicy tidbits as a cherry cake. [Johnson shows] how witty, perceptive and morally grown up American political journalism can be at its best."--The Economist

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