Customer Reviews


43 Reviews
5 star:
 (16)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (10)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quickie Guide to the World's Hot Spots
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,...
Published on May 18, 2003 by Amazon Customer

versus
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea and well organized, but too many errors
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...
Published on May 27, 2006 by David Klinger


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea and well organized, but too many errors, May 27, 2006
This review is from: What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues (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. Not exactly wrong, but if you are familiar with the subject being discussed you would likely shake your head and say "that's really not an accurate way to describe the facts."

There were several points on which the author just got the important facts wrong. For example, in the section on Somalia on page 143 there is a box containing one very long paragraph that describes what is commonly known as the "Battle of Mogadishu". Among the things the author got wrong was an allusion that warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid might have been tipped off about the US operation by his son who was a Marine "supposedly helping out the U.S. with translation." Aidid's son Hussein Farrah Aydid was a Marine Reservist and had been sent to Somalia to translate and serve as a liaison with his father. However, that had only lasted for three weeks and the younger Aydid had been back at his job the City of West Covina engineering department, updating water maps, counting cars in traffic, etc. for more than ten months before the battle took place.

The same section is full of other blatant errors, some of which are minor - "the image of a dead Marine being dragged through the streets..." is inaccurate because there were no Marines present in Somalia or participating in the operation. The Marines had operated in country earlier, and from time to time there were some Marine units offshore, but not for the events described by the author.

Some are significant errors. Such as the author's statement that the Somali militia forces brought down two Blackhawk helicopters using "land-to-air missiles..." Inaccurate because the Somali's actually used Soviet era Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) which are relatively unsophisticated weapons compared to ground to air missiles. The realization that a Blackhawk was susceptible to incapacitating damage by something as simple and cheap as an RPG was something of a shock. That is an important point. Perhaps more importantly, it is a unproven but widely held belief that Al Qaeda was responsible for discovering this weakness and providing slightly modified RPGs and training to the Somalis in an effort to hurt and embarrass the U.S. The author failed to mention that and it would seem important considering the importance given in other parts of the book to Al Qaeda and terrorism in general.

The same paragraph has inaccurate statements about the goal of the mission that sparked the battle and the basic facts of when and how elements were introduced into the operation and what role they played.

Others have commented on what appears to be the interjection of politically motivated bias on the author's part. It was apparent when I saw it, slightly annoying (just give me the facts and let me make up my own mind about how I feel about what I've learned) but I learned to just discount it and skip past it.

Conclusion:

A darn good idea and well organized, but too skimpy on details in some parts and too many major errors to be trusted. That last part was the kiss of death for the book as far as I'm concerned. If I can find that many blatant errors in one paragraph I have no confidence in anything else I read. I might give it another half star if Amazon would let me, but not a full three stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quickie Guide to the World's Hot Spots, May 18, 2003
This review is from: What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars helpful to help you scratch the surface, October 29, 2003
By 
Ehrrin Keenan "supasci" (Pittsburgh, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


43 of 56 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Innacurate and simplistic, July 26, 2004
By 
konstant (Berkeley, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues (Paperback)
Disclosure: I read only 1 page of the book.

Recently I saw this book in a book store and checked the page about my country - Bulgaria.

According to the book, Bulgaria gained independency in 1991 from the Soviet Union. Well, actually Bulgaria was never part of the Soviet Union and it gained independency for the last time (the first Bulgarian state was founded in the 7th century but then we are on the Balkans ;))) from Turkey in 1878.

The book also leaves the impression that Bulgaria is ruled by the local mafia. Of course crime is a problem for Bulgaria but this is an overstretch, to put it mildly. Then the autor says that the economy is in bad shape (an absolute truth) but the $1 billion loan from the IMF might help. Which $1 billion exactly? Bulgaria is constantly repaying old and getting new loans from the IMF, etc. Is this a book for 5 year olds?

To sum up. As an international student in the US and with many of the most intelligent people I have ever met in my life being Americans, I have a hard time fighting against the proliferated opinion that Americans are ignorants. Instead of helping this book makes matters worse. I believe Americans are smarter that the author thinks.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and on target., June 10, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Basic primer for the uneducated masses, February 3, 2006
This review is from: What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A much needed book!, June 5, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues (Paperback)
I try very hard to keep informed of world events, but it can be daunting to try and unravel all the history and facts behind the world's latest conflicts. So what's an American to do in this age of deregulated corporate media conglomerates and embedded journalists? Luckily we now have this guide to help fill in the blanks. While it never purports to be the last word on global politics, it IS a very helpful primer for learning more in depth.
Read this entertaining and informative book, and then dive into some of the wonderful links Ms. Rossi has provided. I guarantee you'll astound and amaze your Canadian and European friends on your next vacation with your background knowledge. :-)
Dare I call it Cliff Notes for Geopolitics? It's close!
Buy it and send to your isolated friends across the United States, or send them to the companion site, armchairdiplomat.com
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fills in so much missing from my education, August 24, 2005
By 
This review is from: What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues (Paperback)
I am very moderate when it comes to politics, and I expected this book to be very slanted either left or right. I couldn't have been more wrong. While Rossi has an opinion about many world matters, it's not force fed and it clearly set off from the factual information in the book.

Just when you get to the end and think "Oil, religion and arms are to blame for all the world's problems," she gives you some practical advice about how to help.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy on Fact, Light on Fluff, July 26, 2005
This review is from: What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues (Paperback)
There are definitely grating aspects to this book. Ms. Rossi tends to view a lot of the world (particularly the Middle East) in terms of imperialism, money, and oil. She also reveals left-of-center tendencies when speaking of government social programs and poverty. But in the main the book provides plenty of factual information about countries that are current players in the world stage; those sensitive to spin will be able to easily ignore the ideology and focus on the facts.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-buy, July 18, 2003
By 
KSeashore (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
This review is from: What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues (Paperback)
Most of the time, a book this useful is a drag to read -- you feel like you're just taking your medicine, fighting through boring parts to get the information you want. But Rossi's book transcends all that, with a witty, even sarcastic tone that never lets you forget that this stuff isn't just numbers and statistics; it's the human story behind everything that makes the book so incredibly interesting. It's one thing to read about whether the actions of North Korea should concern you, it's another to read that Kim Il-Jong spends all his time getting drunk on expensive whiskey while still leaving his father (dead for eight years) as the official president of North Korea. Numbers don't tell the whole story!
Anyone who wants to get an idea of what's going on in the world, where, when and WHY, should get this book. You'll keep it by your bed to read again and again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.