America is in trouble. We face four major challenges on which our future depends, and we are failing to meet them—and if we delay any longer, soon it will be too late for us to pass along the American dream to future generations.
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, offer both a wake-up call and a call to collective action. They analyze the four challenges we face—globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation's chronic deficits, and our pattern of excessive energy consumption—and spell out what we need to do now to sustain the American dream and preserve American power in the world. They explain how the end of the Cold War blinded the nation to the need to address these issues seriously, and how China's educational successes, industrial might, and technological prowess remind us of the ways in which "that used to be us." They 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 urgently needs.
And yet Friedman and Mandelbaum believe that the recovery of American greatness is within reach. They show how America's history, when properly understood, offers a five-part formula for prosperity that will enable us to cope successfully with the challenges we face. They offer vivid profiles of individuals who have not lost sight of the American habits of bold thought and dramatic action. They propose a clear way out of the trap into which the country has fallen, a way that includes the rediscovery of some of our most vital traditions and the creation of a new thirdparty movement to galvanize the country.
That Used to Be Us is both a searching exploration of the American condition today and a rousing manifesto for American renewal.
About Thomas Friedman and Michael MandelbaumSee more books from this Author
While the challenges described in the book are serious indeed, and most readers will agree with much of what the authors explore, the narrative execution is lacking. Disappointing.Read Full Review of That Used To Be Us | See more reviews from Kirkus
Few readers will agree with every observation and argument in this...passionately argued book, but all of them should find “That Used to Be Us” compelling, engaging and enlightening.Read Full Review of That Used To Be Us | See more reviews from NY Times
For there is an unnerving tension at the core of “That Used to Be Us,” a discordant emotional counterpoint. I don’t think it’s a disagreement between the authors so much as a disagreement within each of them.Read Full Review of That Used To Be Us | See more reviews from NY Times
...pile on the doom of superpower decline. Funereal orations don't come much more devastating than this. But, on the other hand, they also roll out prescriptions for recovery as smoothly as travelling salesmen.Read Full Review of That Used To Be Us | See more reviews from Guardian
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.Read Full Review of That Used To Be Us | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly
...a call to action for business, government and consumers everywhere. There needs to be less wasteful consumption...and a search for new revenue sources to normalize the debt.Read Full Review of That Used To Be Us | See more reviews from Blog Critics
Whether the country can think the big thoughts needed to reform itself and head off a crisis of democracy that could have profound consequences across the world is a question raised, but frustratingly poorly tackled, in That Used To Be Us.Read Full Review of That Used To Be Us
Anyone who cares about America’s future – anyone planning to vote in 2012 – ought to read this book and hear the authors’ compelling case.Read Full Review of That Used To Be Us
As an American reviewing an American book aimed at Americans, I must say, simply: “Read it.” We Americans can still read. Can’t we?Read Full Review of That Used To Be Us
Self-contradiction and incomplete analysis also undermine the discussion of what the authors see as America’s formula for success: investing in education, research and infrastructure while expanding immigration and doing smart regulation.Read Full Review of That Used To Be Us
...they are correct that the time is ripe for big, concrete ideas to renew America. It’s disappointing that they propose none of their own.Read Full Review of That Used To Be Us
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