The Nineties: A Book

Penguin Random House Audio. Feb. 2022. 12:39 hrs. ISBN 9780593555545. $22.50. SOC SCI
The 1990s nostalgia is upon us, and pop culture raconteur Klosterman is the ideal author to take on the decade, from music and movies to sports and politics. Each chapter mixes facts, reminiscences, and analysis to create an overview of the highs and lows of the decade. There’s plenty of attention paid to iconic events and people of the time, but Klosterman’s knowledge of the obscure is consistently entertaining. He shifts effortlessly between topics—one chapter begins with The Matrix and Keanu Reeves’s 1990s career, then turns to the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, the O. J. Simpson trial, and the Columbine massacre, then back to The Matrix and the ways television defined reality during the era. Klosterman narrates the majority of the book, and while he’s not a professional narrator, his enthusiasm for the subject matter, combined with his upper-Midwestern accent, draws listeners in. His occasional mimicry of famous voices (1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot, former president Bill Clinton) is endearingly clumsy. Co-narrator Dion Graham reads the chapter titles and selected footnotes. His smooth, measured narration contrasts well with Klosterman’s excitable style.
VERDICT A must-listen for Klosterman’s many fans, nostalgic Gen-Xers, and those interested in the many ways the 1990s shaped how we live now.
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