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The Post American World Hardcover – May 6 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton; First Edition edition (May 6 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039306235X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393062359
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 24.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 717 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #169,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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

“Compelling.” — Thomas Friedman (New York Times)

“A provocative and often shrewd take that opens a big picture window on the closing of the first American century and the advent of a new world.” — Michiko Kakutani (New York Times)

“Zakaria . . . may have more intellectual range and insights than any other public thinker in the West.” — Boston Sunday Globe

“Prophetic brilliance, near-perfect clarity, and a stirring eloquence.” — Philadelphia Inquirer

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Most helpful customer reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Coach C on Aug. 3 2008
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 By Trevor G. Stack on 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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Format: Paperback
I received this book upon the recommendation from friend as a gift for Christmas. The description on the back cover had me fairly excited. "The Post-American World," as I would come to find out, was a misnomer. The back cover was a blanket description about as effective as covering yourself with a leftover from your infancy. The first two chapters of the book are engaging and fascinating. Then the whole thing derails. Instead of examining the goings on in the world, he comes to the United States and then refuses to leave. If you wanted to learn something about Kenya, for example, you will find it mentioned solely on the back cover. This book is half-baked with only half the right ingredients.

It seems like this book was a hard affair to compose for Mr. Zakaria. He is an American and proud of it, and the book becomes an effort to boost his country in what almost amounts to be pre-emptive defence against potential charges of being "foreign," as if that has any real criticism. However, the midsection of this book is a mire of mythmaking and contradiction. The whole nature of the book, the very title is betrayed as Mr. Zakaria goes from the near future to the past, with a view to critiquing the decline of the British Empire. That he does it so poorly is a testament to propaganda over fact. I was infuriated when he decried the British industry's focus on Bicycles versus the American emphasis on Automobiles - as if the British of that period needed them as much as Americans, coming from a small island with an extensive rail network! He also seems to forget that British heavy industry could produce ships like no one else on earth, but apparently that doesn't matter.
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By Mario A. Stocco on Jan. 27 2010
Format: Paperback
For those of you who are into geopolitics this book is a must read. Fareed Zakaria's intelligence, erudition and geopolitical sensibilities shine in this remarkable book. He gives a step by step account of the historical antecedents for America's current state of being. He chronicles America's ambitions, hegemonic dalliances, strategic misadventures, the development of its economic and military prowess, and, finally, its naked hubris - that has, to some extent, tarnished its shine and threatened its virility - both at home and abroad. He also makes a convincing argument that, although America is chastened by its past behavior, it still remains a formidable power house in a changed world. Furthermore, it is still seen by other nations as a beacon for democracy, liberty, and a better way of life - to be admired and modeled by those nations in transition. The author does not pull any punches about that which has to be fixed in America - because there is much that is wanting and needs to be fixed - however, there is much to be lauded and much to learn from. America's vitality and leadership, lies in its energetic "can do" attitude - no matter how dire things may get from time to time. It is still a force to be reckoned with, and no one should be foolish enough to write it off at a time when it is facing numerable challenges. This book is not entirely a love-in, Zakaria challenges and asks tough questions when he needs to, and although he paints a laudable picture of America, he also offers harsh criticism of where America went wrong.
Mario A. Stocco
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