11 November 2009

The Post-American World

I picked up Fareed Zakaria's The Post-American World last November when it had a lot of momentum.  I also bought Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine at the same time.  I had The Shock Doctrine done by Thanksgiving - and then spent the holiday car-ride to my grandfather's house discussing the points of the book with my father - but the Zakaria....

I had to force myself to go back and finish this.  I find that his outlook is a little too "rose-colored glasses" or "glass is half-full" for my taste.  With the economic downturn I think we have to look critically at the US economic policies, which have obviously been allowed to run amok with little oversight, and acknowledge that the "American way" is not the only way.  Zakaria also seems to favor remnants of colonialism, pointing out the similarities and differences between the US and British Imperialism, which is a bit stale given most countries' nationalist tendencies.  Zakaria also praises the work of Margaret Thatcher, yes, the "Iron Lady" who revived the UK economy with her "reforms;" last time I checked, Thatcher treated a lot of working-class people as less than human with her "reforms" and privatization and I think that is reprehensible.  One of the only things I found applicable in Zakaria's book was the idea that the US isn't falling behind as many alarmists like to point out - it's just that many countries are just now catching up to the US and taking a larger piece of the pie.  Maybe we need to learn to share the sandbox.

This isn't a terrible book, but I just didn't care about any of his points after a while.  Particularly the last chapter with it's numbered, bulleted list - I had started skimming the book by then.  So, I'm pretty "blah"/"meh" about this book.  If you want a sunny outlook about the US, read Zakaria.  If you want to make your hair stand on end and get all worked up about US economic practices, read the Wolf.

Clear Off Your Shelves Reading Challenge: 14/18


  1. thanks. I like Zakaria as a writer- as a prose stylist- but I'm not always so hot on his ideas either.

  2. I'm loving that advice, especially since I have "The Shock Doctrine" on my TBR shelf, and had no plans to read Zakaria. I hope your next read goes better!

  3. Is he the guy that has a show on CNN? He irritates me. Seriously, between him and Rick Sanchez I almost can't watch that channel anymore. No surprise that his book would be irritating as well.