This is the book you read if you want an eyewitness account of the last 40 years of American history, leading specifically to the Great Recession and told from the viewpoint of the people who lived it. You could teach American History 102 directly from its pages and your students would learn a hell of a lot more than from some dusty old textbook.
Packer alternates his narrative among half a dozen Americans, interspersed with profiles of people you all know, like Newt Gingrich and Oprah and Jay-Z, and towns like Tampa, which was ground zero for the bad mortgage boom and bust. But principally we're seeing what happened to us through the eyes of two white southern men and a black woman from Youngstown, Ohio. What follows is the single most engrossing nonfiction read I have held in my hands since, since, hell, I don't know when.