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Book Review :: The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

I was expecting Chuck Klosterman’s The Nineties: A Book to bring back vivid memories from the decade I spent in college and graduate school; what I wasn’t expecting was how Klosterman would present the decade’s events, culture, and people differently than I remembered them. Klosterman covers what most readers would expect: the elections—ranging from Ross Perot’s role in 1992 to the Supreme Court’s role in 2000—the rise of the internet; the music that changed the decade, whether Nirvana or Tupac; the stereotypes and reality of Generation X; the video store’s impact on movie making; the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet empire; major news events, such as the Anita Hill accusations, the Columbine shooting, and the O.J. Simpson trial. Where Klosterman shines, though, is in repositioning what he discusses, asking questions about why nineteen percent of the country voted for Ross Perot (full disclosure: I was one of those, and, yes, I regretted it within a year), how the nineties were more about the potential of the Internet than the Internet itself, and how George H.W. Bush lost the 1992 election after having the highest approval rating in history the year before. Rather than a walk through nostalgia, Klosterman helps redefine how we should view the nineties.

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman. Penguin Books, January 2023.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.

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