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Post American World, The [Hardcover]

Fareed Zakaria
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 6 2008
One of our most distinguished thinkers argues that the "rise of the rest" is the great story of our time.

"This is not a book about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else." So begins Fareed Zakaria's important new work on the era we are now entering. Following on the success of his best-selling The Future of Freedom, Zakaria describes with equal prescience a world in which the United States will no longer dominate the global economy, orchestrate geopolitics, or overwhelm cultures. He sees the "rise of the rest"-the growth of countries like China, India, Brazil, Russia, and many others-as the great story of our time, and one that will reshape the world. The tallest buildings, biggest dams, largest-selling movies, and most advanced cell phones are all being built outside the United States. This economic growth is producing political confidence, national pride, and potentially international problems. How should the United States understand and thrive in this rapidly changing international climate? What does it mean to live in a truly global era? Zakaria answers these questions with his customary lucidity, insight, and imagination.

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. When a book proclaims that it is not about the decline of America but the rise of everyone else, readers might expect another diatribe about our dismal post-9/11 world. They are in for a pleasant surprise as Newsweek editor and popular pundit Zakaria (The Future of Freedom) delivers a stimulating, largely optimistic forecast of where the 21st century is heading. We are living in a peaceful era, he maintains; world violence peaked around 1990 and has plummeted to a record low. Burgeoning prosperity has spread to the developing world, raising standards of living in Brazil, India, China and Indonesia. Twenty years ago China discarded Soviet economics but not its politics, leading to a wildly effective, top-down, scorched-earth boom. Its political antithesis, India, also prospers while remaining a chaotic, inefficient democracy, as Indian elected officials are (generally) loathe to use the brutally efficient tactics that are the staple of Chinese governance. Paradoxically, India's greatest asset is its relative stability in the region; its officials take an unruly population for granted, while dissent produces paranoia in Chinese leaders. Zakaria predicts that despite its record of recent blunders at home and abroad, America will stay strong, buoyed by a stellar educational system and the influx of young immigrants, who give the U.S. a more youthful demographic than Europe and much of Asia whose workers support an increasing population of unproductive elderly. A lucid, thought-provoking appraisal of world affairs, this book will engage readers on both sides of the political spectrum. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

This new analysis of America's role in the world is a serious, readable... essential book. " --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rise of the Rest Aug. 3 2008
By Coach C TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
It's truly unfortunate that Fareed Zakaria chose to name his book, "Post American World", because it does not accurately reflect his central thesis which is the "rise of the rest" and not the end of American exceptionalism. I'm sure the provocative title was more sensational than he wanted it to be but that his publisher thought it would attract more "buzz".

In any case, this short book is a terrific survey of 20th century developments specifically leading to the globalization phenomenon that has led to economic miracles occuring in both China and India. I say survey, because Zakaria does not intend the book to be a complete treatise on the subject, but rather to present a concise overview of the major themes and most importantly offer his prognosis for the future.

According to Zakaria, the "post american world" is one where the balance of power has readjusted after the temporary imbalance post cold-war which gave the US sole superpower status for over a decade. In summing up Zakaria's vision of this new relationship he states that "there is now a conversation with the Americans in the room, and one without, the key point being that a conversation now exists with or without the Americans."

Some reviewers have been overly critical of Zakaria for his somewhat apologetic view especially towards China, given its atrocious human rights record, continued oppression of Tibet, complete disregard for the natural environment and exploitation of resources from developing countries. It is true that Zakaria fails to highlight any of these critical issues, however, all of that still does not detract whatsoever from his central argument that China is rapidly rising and will soon out-produce the US in a few decades despite the human costs.

Zakaria's writing style is clear, uncluttered, and straightforward. In my opinion, "Post American World" is one of the more important non-fiction books of the year.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good thesis and good analysis of it; read the NYT April 13 2009
Format:Hardcover
The other reviewers have hit it right on the head. This book is about the rise of the 'rest' of the world and that this theme is both relevant and that it will likely prove to be a prescient insight on a global trend.

My main criticism of this book is that someone who has read a paper like the New York Times regularly over the past five years would have found little new or insightful. Too much of the book simply summarizes global events. Other than the examples of how the world is advancing at a better clip than America is, the author provides few unusual insights about the state of world affairs.

I became interested in this book when I learned that then-candidate Obama had been reading it. After reading it, I had hoped that the author's main view would become a central theme to the Obama presidency. I still maintain that belief and support this book fully if it encourages others to believe so as well.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well reasoned opinion Sept. 30 2008
Format:Hardcover
Completely agree with the previous reviewer that this is a clear and cogent argument for America's place in the coming world order. It's not an alarmist treatise - rather an argument about the fundamental strengths that America has, does, and will continue to hold into the future, and how that fits with other nations finding their strength.

My one beef with the book is that Zakaria seldom even makes an effort to support his argument. It is far more a statement of his (what I find agreeable) opinion than it is essay.

But as I said, perhaps because it fits well into my own opinion, I found the book ejoyable, and his writing style fluid and comprehensible.

Overall a very good read and one I've recommended (and lent) to others already.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read! Nov. 11 2011
Format:Audio CD
Interesting, educational, review of ancient history, civilization, cultures and religions with changes over time for China, India, W. Europe and USA. How the global economy is changing rapidly and affecting all of us no matter your residence or citizenship.
I am listening to the discs for the 3rd time and have purchased the hard copy update 5/2011.
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