Burgs Sunday book review
Reviewed by Carl McDaniels, of Blacksburg. He is retired from the Virginia Tech Counselor Education program and is a past president of the Blacksburg AARP.
On Nov. 3, 2010, President Obama said, “It makes no sense for China to have better rail systems than us, and Singapore having better airports than us. And we just learned that China now has the fastest supercomputer on Earth—that used to be us.” And hence, the title of this book, “That Used To Be Us.” It is available both in large print and regular print from the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library and is highly recommended for readers who are concerned about the condition of the nation in the 21st Century and how to improve the outlook for the future.
The lead writer is Tom Friedman, who is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for his long time work as a correspondent with the New York Times. He has authored five bestselling books, including “The World is Flat,” published in 2005. Michael Mandelbaum, is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Studies. Both authors grew up in the 1950s and 60s in middle class families. The book is laid out in five parts and 16 chapters in well written, easy-to-read style.
Part one sets the stage and outlines the four major challenges facing the United States in the future. They are:how to adapt to increasing globalization; how to adapt to the information technology revolution; how to adapt to the growing budget deficits; and how to adapt to the rising energy consumption and increasing threats due to climate change. The second part deals with questions of how to meet the educational challenges presented by the four major issues. Part three outlines how America can win the recent war on math and physics which has been growing over the past several decades. Part four is a very interesting and controversial outline of the “Political Failures” in recent years which gave rise to making many of the major problems worse and therefore even more difficult to address today.
Part five, which is well worth waiting for, is entitled “Rediscovering America.” In this section, the authors propose some concrete ideas as to how we can fulfill the promise they reference in the book’s subtitle: how can we come back. Some will find the discussion of the role of third party candidates in national elections over the past century very interesting. The authors place special emphasis on how each one influenced positive changes for the nation over the long term. In the end, the authors point out the bad things that have gotten us in this somewhat shaky point in the county’s history. The authors insist that they are still optimistic about how, when faced with big problems in the past, the United States steps up and makes the hard decision that advance the nation to a better place and a brighter future.
Check out these other great best sellers now available at Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library:
Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. At least one third of the people we know are introverts. They listen while the rest of us talk. Why is that? And what are we missing? Quiet has been quietly moving up the best seller list.
American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle. The story of a legendary SEAL in a world of legendary men. Between 1999-2009, Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. Feared by the Iraqi insurgents and highly decorated for his feats, this is one of the best war memoirs in a long time.
Hilarity Ensues by Tucker Max. The last book in a trilogy contains many more outrageous stories of bachelor parties, Mexican vacations, and wild roommates. The subtitle should be how to get through law school without really trying. Fun!
That Woman: the Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor by Anne Sebba. It seems we never get tired of the story of the American divorcee who seduced a British king off his throne. She was neither beautiful or brilliant but there was something about “That woman,” as Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, branded her.
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