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What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues Paperback – April 29, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0452284050 ISBN-10: 0452284058
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This may be the perfect book for paranoiacs, conspiracy buffs, fans of Michael Moore, and just anyone who thinks the people running the world don't have our best interests at heart. Rossi, author of What Every American Should Know about the Rest of the World (2003), sets out to expose the lurkers in the shadows of government who are pulling the strings worldwide. Political advisors, influential corporations, media moguls, retail empires, government agencies--the list is both long and unsettling. Rossi's premise is simple: there are people and organizations running the world from behind the scenes of government and commerce, and us ordinary folks would be wise to know who they are. Rossi doesn't pull any punches. For example, she calls George W. Bush a "true imbecile in the international department" and often refers to his administration as "this bunch." Her obvious ideological bias will result in challenges to her conclusions, but she marshals plenty of impressive source material. Rossi is doomed, perhaps, to the fate of preaching only to her choir, but she raises quite a ruckus. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Melissa Rossi is an award-winning veteran journalist who has penned articles for Newsweek, Newsday, Esquire, George, MSNBC, The New York Observer, and, until recently, wrote a regular column for National Geographic Traveler. She has written extensively about Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and has lived abroad for many years.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (April 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452284058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452284050
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,050,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By David Klinger on May 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book last year because I really liked the concept - a sort of brief guide to the world for Americans. Many of us, myself included, are lacking a good understanding of other parts of the world. And we rely too much on the dominant media to "educate" us on the facts, conditions and histories of countries that are important or where problems make them a place to be concerned about.

That said, this book gets a mixed review from me because it does well in some areas and poorly in others.

What I liked:

It's organized well - starting with the places that are "ticking" time bombs and gradually working down the ratings of volatility to the nations that are "talkers" (as opposed to "doers" I suppose). That concept groups countries with similar problems, outlooks, histories, etc. near each other in the book. Because so many issues tend to cross national boundaries it makes it easy to see how the same situation developed or has been addressed in neighboring places.

It's not a big book, especially since the topic is the world, and so it has to boil down the issues and histories into some brief points. For the most part the author does a good job of identifying what is really important to know.

What I didn't like:

Some of the synopses are so brief as to not be very useful.

Inaccuracies were too common. Both my sons take honors level history classes and while reading this book they complained of statements that they thought were wrong. We sat down together and researched the points that they found fault with - and the boys were on the money. Much of it has to do with how brief some of the author's comments are - it resulted in over simplification of some complex subjects that came across as misleading.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
The author states her purpose on the first page of her intro, and I quote: "to provide you with a contextual mapping of the world's geopolitical hot spots, and a familiarity with the names, terms and ideas you need to know to decipher global events".

She succeeds admirably at her goal, giving 3-15 page summaries of "fast facts" (about population, unemployment, ethnicity,religion, exports, etc.), historical background (focusing, though, just on the history leading up to the "hot" issues of today), and key players in the country's government. She makes no claim to cover everything, instead providing a listing of websites and print resources where the reader can go for more information.

My quibbles are these: some of her website links are incorrect/obsolete, some refer to subscriber sites where a $99 annual fee is required to access. There are some glaring copy errors: on page 299, she refers to Africa as a country rather than a continent. Finally, her views are somewhat left of center, and her predictions on results of a war in Iraq haven't happened (e.g. Israel bombing Iran) -- at least, not yet.

All in all, though, a useful book -- similar to the way foreign language phrase guides are useful when you're traveling in a country where you don't know the language too well.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ehrrin Keenan on October 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was great to get a "cliff's notes" version of the rest of the world. So many of us (Americans, including myself) have a very limited scope of understanding about the rest of the world. I like how this book was set up--giving the consistent info like population, economics, % of literacy, etc. for each place mentioned, and the background of the current political situation and the US's involvement.

The information is very surface, however. Of the places/countries that I did know some more about, I found that the information given was not adequate to truly explain the current affairs. For example, one of the quotes on the front of the book is about Rwanda, and asks something like "What little box caused the genocide in Rwanda?". The author was referring to the radio, but saying that is a dramatic oversimpflication of what happened in Rwanda in the 90s, and is a very flip little "quiz" for such a serious and horrifying moment in history.

That said, I do think the book was valuable, and gave me a good jumping off point for what to look into more deeply.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Bravo! In these times when the big media (ahem, the FCC's vote last week...) make it hard for America to get full pictures of what's going on in the world, What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World is a fantastic resource. Rossi provides a great range of important information, throws in humor to keep it digestible, and--best of all--enticed me not only to read the whole book but to dig deeper, check other resources, and continue learning about this wonderful and complicated world. Somebody send a copy to W.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Braden on February 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
Hey, I liked the book- its written simply, with some humor, and it punches the major points. In Depth analysis it isn't and wasn't meant to be, but let's face it, most Americans don't want any in depth analysis of world issues- heck, half of them can't point out the Pacific Ocean. This will have to do for those folks. It hits the lowlights and highlights, gives some easy to read charts and maps, and while simplistic- covers enough for the USA TODAY types who want the picture, map, and easy bullet list.

Frankly, I think this book is a necessity for schools- or something like it- it may be the only way for kids to find Africa on the map or understand between Hutus and Tutsis.
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