Tuesday, February 16, 2010

52 in 52/ Bk 8: The Post American World

For those who see America as a failure and a place to be ashamed of, a challenge. Read The Post American World.
For those who see America as the be-all and end-all of society, culture or religion, a challenge. Read The Post American World.
For anyone who wants to know more about America, it's place in history, it's past and future, a challenge. Read The Post American World.For those who want to understand the politics, culture and the religion(s) of the emerging world, you'll want to read The Post American World, too.

Just to be clear, I loved this book. It's a meaty tome and took me 3 weeks to read- unusual for me. But it demands attention and brain power.The author, Fareed Zakaria, is the editor of Newsweek International and has an uncanny ability to analyze difficult data and situations and make them understandable. The book is really an analysis of who America is and what she's contributed to the world, her current standing and how she'll do in the future. Statistically, America is a world power on every front, to be sure. And since the end of the cold war, America has singularly held that position. But times, they are a changin.' Zakaria doesn't predict the demise of the West, but "the rise of the rest." More major players are emerging and as a result, the pie pieces will be distributed differently.

Chapters are devoted to both "The Challenger," China, and "The Alley," India and how we relate to and will be changed by what they are bringing to the global table. Both of these chapters were terrific overviews of the culture, history and religions of these countries and how they differ from America.

The last chapters were devoted to America and her future purpose. Zakaria states that America is culturally and socially rich but politically weak; weakened by special interest groups and bi-partisanship. The challenge for America in the future is complex but rests critically on America's willingness to think outside of itself in an increasingly global world, as well as give up it's dedication to "fear and loathing."

America has become a nation consumed by anxiety, worried about terrorists and
rogue nations, Muslims, and Mexicans, foreign companies and free trade,
immigrants and international organizations. The strongest nation in the history
of the world now sees itself as besieged by forces beyond its control...too many
Americans have been taken in by a rhetoric of fear.
(And a personal imho moment, I think the church could take to heart the above quote as well!)
A challenging and excellent book. One that I've added to my already over-worked and over-read high schoolers list of "must reads." It should be on your list, too! And if you do read it, drop me a line and lmk what you thought!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

This book sounds interesting. I think I will add it to my "to read" list, though I doubt I will get to it very soon--I'm hoping for this summer on vacation when I won't be interrupted as often by my little ones. I have also decimated the pile by my nightstand just in time to receive the next onslaught of review books which I expect any day now. ;)