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Original Essays | August 21, 2014

Richard Bausch: IMG Why Literature Can Save Us

Our title is, of course, a problem. "Why Literature Can Save Us." And of course the problem is one of definition: what those words mean. What is... Continue »
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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
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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.
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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 After describing these challenges using both modern day and historical references they go on to describe solutions for us to get back on track as a country.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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Product Details

Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum
Farrar Straus Giroux
Friedman, Thomas L.
Culp, Jason
Mandelbaum, Michael
Thomas L. Friedma
Wyman, Oliver
International Relations - General
Politics-United States Politics
Politics - General
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
6 CDs, 7 hours
9 x 6 in

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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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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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