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1 Burnside American Studies- Politics

That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back

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That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back Cover

ISBN13: 9780374288907
ISBN10: 0374288909
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

America has a huge problem. It faces four major challenges, on which its future depends, and it is failing to meet them. In That Used to Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman, one of our most influential columnists, and Michael Mandelbaum, one of our leading foreign policy thinkers, analyze those challenges — globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nations chronic deficits, and its pattern of energy consumption — and spell out what we need to do now to rediscover America and rise to this moment.

They explain how the end of the cold war blinded the nation to the need to address these issues. They show how our history, when properly understood, provides the key to addressing them, and explain how the paralysis of our political system and the erosion of key American values have made it impossible for us to carry out the policies the country needs. They offer a way out of the trap into which the country has fallen, which includes the rediscovery of some of our most valuable traditions and the creation of a new, third-party movement. That Used to Be Us is both a searching exploration of the American condition today and a rousing manifesto for American renewal.

"As we were writing this book," Friedman and Mandelbaum explain, "we found that when we shared the title with people, they would often nod ruefully and ask: 'But does it have a happy ending?' Our answer is that we can write a happy ending, but it is up to the country — to all of us — to determine whether it is fiction or nonfiction. We need to study harder, save more, spend less, invest wisely, and get back to the formula that made us successful as a country in every previous historical turn. What we need is not novel or foreign, but values, priorities, and practices embedded in our history and culture, applied time and again to propel us forward as a country. That is all part of our past. That used to be us and can be again — if we will it."

Review:

"Reflecting on America's past greatness and its slipping position among global powers, Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times columnist Friedman (The World is Flat) and foreign policy expert Mandelbaum (The Frugal Superpower) warn against the United States' 'dangerous complacency' in the face of increasingly complex global challenges. They repeat a question first posed by Bill Gates ('What was all that good stuff we had that other people copied?') and prescribe a set of sensible government practices for prosperity: invest in public education and infrastructure, foster immigration and scientific research, and set up effective financial regulation. The rapid upheaval of the Arab Spring exemplifies the dynamism of today's intertwined world ('Flat World 2.0'), where ideas and innovation — not goods or skills — are an individual or country's top economic commodities. American workers must approach the global marketplace with creativity in order to remain globally competitive. To that end, they also support reigning in the national debt and committing to the use of alternative energy sources. Broad ranging in its anecdotes and research, conversational (if pedantic) in its tone, and hopeful in its patriotism, they look the challenges of the 21st century squarely in the eye. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Friedman and Mandelbaum are men of the American elite, and they write to salute those members of the American elite who behave public-spiritedly and to scourge those who do not. They are winners, writing to urge other winners to have more of a care for their fellow citizens who are not winners. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that! ... American society has had a big serving of that ugly anti-elitist spirit in the recent past. It could use more of the generous responsible spirit Friedman and Mandelbaum recommend." David Frum, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"This is a book of exceptional importance, written on a sweeping scale with remarkable clarity by two of our most gifted thinkers. A soon-to-be best seller, it should be read by policymakers and every American concerned about our country's future." Elizabeth L. Winter, Library Journal

Review:

"[In That Used to Be Us there] are big truths, and the authors see them clearly and whole. As is usual in Mr. Friedman's work the power of the core argument is buttressed by detailed reportage and blizzards of specific fact and detail, but the accumulation of anecdote and evidence never detracts from the book's central thrust. That Used to Be Us is an important contribution to an intensifying debate, and it deserves the widest possible attention." Walter Russell Mead, The New York Times

Review:

"[An] important and eminently readable book." Stanley Hoffmann, The New York Review of Books

About the Author

Thomas L. Friedman is a three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for his work with The New York Times and is the author of five bestselling books, including The World Is Flat (2005). Michael Mandelbaum, director of the American Foreign Policy program at Johns Hopkins, is the author of The Case for Goliath: How America Acts as the World's Government in the Twenty-first Century (2005).

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

writermala, August 6, 2012 (view all comments by writermala)
I picked up this book thinking it would be a finger pointing exercise telling me all the things that were wrong with America. Yes, the writers did that but all the time with a note of encouragement. They pointed out America's strength as demonstrated in her history and culture. Thus the book is not about problems alone; rather it talks about solutions. The entire last section is devoted to solutions to America's problems and when I finished the book I felt confident that America could still aspire to her days of glory once more. A must read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Joseph Landes, December 8, 2011 (view all comments by Joseph Landes)
I felt a tremendous amount of pride while reading Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum's new book "That Used To Be Us." The book itself is a call to arms for every citizen of the United States; not just a series of complaints of how things have gone and are going even further off the rails but with concrete suggestions on how to make things better. Friedman and Mandelbaum posit that there are four main challenges holding the US back from allowing citizens to live "the American dream" that was a promise of the past: Globalization (which Friedman has written about extensively in Hot, Flat, and Crowded), the IT revolution, our growing deficit, and overall energy consumption. After describing these challenges using both modern day and historical references they go on to describe solutions for us to get back on track as a country. Each chapter is well written, easy to read, and is definite fodder for office and cocktail party talk. "Average is Over" and Homework X2 = The American Dream are two of the more interesting chapters in the book. A well written book that will keep you thinking for some time about what you can do to help. As a bonus, you are guaranteed to have plenty of examples and feedback for your congressman or congresswoman next time you see them!

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BEmmon, September 8, 2011 (view all comments by BEmmon)
Friedman has always been able to see the present as it is. Any book in which he participates is bound to be relatively insightful and eye-opening.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374288907
Author:
Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Author:
Friedman, Thomas L.
Author:
Culp, Jason
Author:
Mandelbaum, Michael
Author:
Thomas L. Friedma
Author:
Wyman, Oliver
Author:
N
Subject:
International Relations - General
Subject:
Politics-United States Politics
Subject:
Politics - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20110931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
6 CDs, 7 hours
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects


Education » General
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » American Studies » Featured Titles
History and Social Science » Current Affairs » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics

That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back Used Hardcover
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$8.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374288907 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Reflecting on America's past greatness and its slipping position among global powers, Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times columnist Friedman (The World is Flat) and foreign policy expert Mandelbaum (The Frugal Superpower) warn against the United States' 'dangerous complacency' in the face of increasingly complex global challenges. They repeat a question first posed by Bill Gates ('What was all that good stuff we had that other people copied?') and prescribe a set of sensible government practices for prosperity: invest in public education and infrastructure, foster immigration and scientific research, and set up effective financial regulation. The rapid upheaval of the Arab Spring exemplifies the dynamism of today's intertwined world ('Flat World 2.0'), where ideas and innovation — not goods or skills — are an individual or country's top economic commodities. American workers must approach the global marketplace with creativity in order to remain globally competitive. To that end, they also support reigning in the national debt and committing to the use of alternative energy sources. Broad ranging in its anecdotes and research, conversational (if pedantic) in its tone, and hopeful in its patriotism, they look the challenges of the 21st century squarely in the eye. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Friedman and Mandelbaum are men of the American elite, and they write to salute those members of the American elite who behave public-spiritedly and to scourge those who do not. They are winners, writing to urge other winners to have more of a care for their fellow citizens who are not winners. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that! ... American society has had a big serving of that ugly anti-elitist spirit in the recent past. It could use more of the generous responsible spirit Friedman and Mandelbaum recommend."
"Review" by , "This is a book of exceptional importance, written on a sweeping scale with remarkable clarity by two of our most gifted thinkers. A soon-to-be best seller, it should be read by policymakers and every American concerned about our country's future."
"Review" by , "[In That Used to Be Us there] are big truths, and the authors see them clearly and whole. As is usual in Mr. Friedman's work the power of the core argument is buttressed by detailed reportage and blizzards of specific fact and detail, but the accumulation of anecdote and evidence never detracts from the book's central thrust. That Used to Be Us is an important contribution to an intensifying debate, and it deserves the widest possible attention."
"Review" by , "[An] important and eminently readable book."
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