In The Nineties, Gen X author Chuck Klosterman takes a whirlwind tour through a decade that birthed a lot of the trends that shape our modern world. 

The Nineties seemed to play by the same rules that made the rest of the late 20th Century work, but there was a shift happening in the way we interacted with technology and with each other. Those of us who lived through the decade probably didn’t realize the significance of what was happening in real time, but Klosterman takes us back to reflect on how and when things started to change.

However, that introduction makes this book sound much more weighty than it is. This is not a deadly-serious academic tome; it’s a joyride through highlights of the Nineties experience. The 337 pages fly by. 

There are requisite mentions of dial-up modems, Nirvana and Bill Clinton, of course, but also blips of pop culture you may have forgotten. For example, in Klosterman’s chapter on advancements in science, he ties together Crystal Pepsi, Biosphere 2, and Dolly the cloned sheep into a narrative about our discomfort with technology that seems too out-there.

It’s a unique take on a decade that helped make us who we are today.

Reviewed by Lynn Heitkamp, Butman-Fish Library