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Great Powers: America and the World After Bush Paperback – Bargain Price, February 2, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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From Publishers Weekly

Barnett (The Pentagon's New Map) offers a comprehensive catalogue of the failings of the Bush administration and a strategic roadmap for American foreign policy in this sweeping text. The author takes a broad approach to the contemporary political landscape, surveying U.S. history from the Revolution through the end of the Cold War and applying lessons from that history to the present. Drawing on a variety of secondary sources and his personal and professional experiences as a national security specialist and consultant, Barnett argues in favor of cooperation with rising powers such as China and India and continued movement in the direction of globalization; he distills his central thesis down to the contention that America must dramatically realign its own post-9/11 trajectory with that of the world at large. Barnett writes in a conversational style. Despite the text's vast scope, it has a clear, straightforward structure, even featuring a glossary of key terms, and it provides an accessible and engaging foray into global grand strategy. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425232255
  • ASIN: B004JU1SW6
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,212,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


-Senior Managing Director, Enterra Solutions
-Contributing Editor, Esquire magazine
-Columnist, World Politics Review
-Blogger, Thomas P.M. Barnett's Globlogization
-Contributor, Esquire.com's The Politics Blog
-Public Speaker, The Merit Agency (jen@themeritagency.com)


-B.A. in International Relations and Russian Literature, University of Wisconsin, 1984
-A.M. in Soviet Union Program, Harvard University, 1986
-Ph.D. in Political Science, Harvard University, 1990


-Great Powers: America and the World After Bush (2009)
-Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating (2005)
-The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century (2004)
-Romanian and East German Policies in the Third World: Comparing the Strategies of Ceaucescu and Honecker (1992)

Thomas P.M. Barnett is a strategic planner who has worked in national security affairs since the end of the Cold War. Since 2005, Tom has served as Senior Managing Director of Enterra Solutions, LLC, a strategic advisory and technology firm. There, he has partnered with CEO Stephen DeAngelis in pioneering new software-based methodologies for managing complexity in supply chains, critical infrastructure, large healthcare systems and postconflict development efforts.

A New York Times-bestselling author and a nationally-known public speaker who's been profiled on the front-page of the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Barnett is in high demand within government circles as a forecaster of global conflict and an expert of globalization, as well as within corporate circles as a management consultant and conference presenter. An award-winning professor, Dr. Barnett has written for Esquire, Wired, National Review, and the Washington Post, and has been interviewed by Rolling Stone, The Economist, Time, BBC World Service, CNN, Fox News and numerous foreign media. Tom Barnett has been described by U.S. News & World Report's Michael Barone as "one of the most important strategic thinkers of our time."

Dr. Barnett is best known as the author of Great Powers: America and the World After Bush (2009), Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating (2005) and The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century (2004). Described by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius as "a combination of Tom Friedman on globalization and Karl von Clausewitz on war," the wide-ranging volumes have generated an enormous amount of reaction from around the world, leading to foreign editions in Japan, Turkey and China, as well as profiles in London's Daily Telegraph, Denmark's Borsen, and Switzerland's WeltWoche (among many others).

In addition to his speaking and consulting, Tom Barnett is a prolific blogger on current global events at his website www.thomaspmbarnett.com, where he counts among his tens of thousands of readers representatives from all the major U.S. military commands, virtually all U.S. federal departments, numerous foreign governments, and major research and corporate entities the world over.

Tom has been a Contributing Editor for Esquire magazine since the beginning of 2005, and he currently writes a weekly online column for World Politics Review and contributes regularly to Esquire.com's "The Politics Blog."

From 2005 to 2009, Tom wrote a syndicated print column for Scripps Howards News Service, and served as a visiting scholar at the University of Tennessee's Howard Baker Center for Public Policy and a visiting strategist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

From 1998 through 2004, Prof. Barnett was a Senior Strategic Researcher and Professor in the Warfare Analysis & Research Department, Center for Naval Warfare Studies, U.S. Naval War College, Newport RI, where he taught and served--in a senior advisory role--with military and civilian leaders in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, Central Command, Special Operations Command, and Joint Forces Command. From November 2001 to June of 2003, Dr. Barnett was on temporary assignment as the Assistant for Strategic Futures, Office of Force Transformation (OFT), Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he worked with (then) OFT Director Vice Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski (USN, ret.) on a cluster of strategic concepts that link change in the international security environment to the imperative of transforming U.S. military capabilities to meet future threats.

Dr. Barnett has published a number of articles explaining these strategic concepts, which he presents comprehensively in "what may be history's most famous Pentagon briefing," declared syndicated columnist Jack Kelly. Dr. Barnett has delivered this brief well over a thousand times to a cumulative wordwide audience of more than several hundred thousand government officials, military officers, industry and think tank representatives and opinion leaders.

At the Naval War College, Dr. Barnett also served as Director of the NewRuleSets.Project, an ambitious effort to draw new "maps" of power and influence in the world economy. The project was conducted in partnership with the Wall Street broker-dealer firm Cantor Fitzgerald, which hosted three full-day "decision event" workshops atop World Trade Center 1 (at the Windows on the World restaurant). Prior to this study, Dr. Barnett directed the Year 2000 International Security Dimension Project.

Before joining the College in August 1998, Dr. Barnett served as a Project Director in both the Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Public Research, the two major divisions of The CNA Corporation (CNAC), a private research firm located in Alexandria, VA. His two major accomplishments during his CNAC career were: 1) serving as a member of the Naval Force Capabilities Planning Effort that developed the new strategic concepts eventually published in the Navy's White Paper . . . From The Sea, the first draft of which he co-authored along with a handful of senior naval officers; and 2) pioneering and managing CNAC's contractual relationship with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

While at CNAC, he published several dozen reports, essays, and annotated briefings on a wide variety of subjects.

In the mid-1990s, Prof. Barnett penned a book-length manuscript entitled, The Emily Updates: A Year in the Life of a Three-Year-Old Battling Cancer (1998), which he plans to publish as a book in 2011.

Professor Barnett has a BA (Honors) from the University of Wisconsin with a double-major in Russian Language and Literature and International Relations (emphasis--U.S. Foreign Policy). At Wisconsin, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa his junior year. Following Wisconsin, Dr. Barnett earned an AM in Regional Studies: Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia and a PhD in Political Science (major-International Relations; minor-Comparative Politics) from Harvard University. His dissertation was entitled "Warsaw Pact-Third World Relations, 1968-1987: Explaining the Special Roles of Romania and East Germany" and was subsequently published by Praeger. While at Harvard, he served as Research Assistant to the Director of the Russian Research Center, Professor Adam B.Ulam, and worked as a Teaching Fellow in the History and Government Departments.

Thomas Barnett is also a Green Bay Packer season ticket-holder (Gold Package), and as one of the stockholders of the franchise, he feels it is essential to check up on his investment on a regular basis. His seats are located in the historic "South End Zone" of Lambeau Field. Prof. Barnett's maternal grandfather, Gerald Clifford (1889-1952), was a 1991 inductee of the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame.

Thomas and Vonne Barnett live in Indiana with their four children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Tom Barnett's Great Powers: America and the World After Bush is an engaging, detailed discussion about the world today and the coming decades. I did not agree with all of Barnett's assessments or recommendations, but I respected his thought process. Particularly engaging was Barnett's discussion of the American military, what he refers to as the Leviathan. Barnett discussed the role of the American military in the world, the true challenges it faces and what it does not face (China for instance), and how other nations should more openly rely on our Leviathan force.

But I part ways with Barnett on many of his other thoughts. First, his description of what a grand strategy is struck me as strange. I am not a geopolitical expert, but when I hear the phrase grand strategy I recall George Kennan's Long Telegram, which essentially stated the US strategy for the Cold War before it even began. What Kennan set out was more or less followed, with some variation, by ever US president form Truman to Reagan. But Barnett seems to say that grand strategy can be an accident of history. He discusses the development of the "American System," which has transitioned to globalization. But unlike Kennan's strategy, which was first implemented by the State Department, he seems to acknowledge that this "strategy" could be considered accidental or unintentional. Is that a strategy?

I am also not fully convinced that we should be viewing every nation on earth, and every struggle, as a microcosm of the American experience. Barnett is right that the US had developmental growing pains and we should not be surprised to see other nations having similar problems as they develop towards, we hope, democratic/capitalist nations.
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Format: Hardcover
Barnett provides a soup-to-nuts retrospective and prescriptive look at the entire geopolitical universe. He covers early American history, the good and bad of the Bush administration, and a strategic and economic look at every region of the world.

Aside from perhaps Thomas Friedman, there's not a more optimistic thinker who's worth reading. While by no means a Pollyanna, Barnett sees the world as in much better shape than most of his counterparts in the national security policy community and sees it becoming progressively better. The things that keep most strategists and economists up at night are mere bumps in the road that, if properly managed, will lead to a more peaceful, prosperous planet.

Suffice it to say that Great Powers isn't summer beach reading. The prose is breezy enough; the author has polished it over years of lectures, PowerPoint briefings, and blog posts. But the subject matter is weighty and you'll want a highlighter and a pen to underline things and write notes on the page. You'll find yourself nodding in agreement at times, finding that the author has captured your thoughts perfectly, explaining them in a way where it finally makes sense. At other times, you may think he's mad and want to shout obscenities at him.
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Format: Hardcover
Barnett's earlier books, especially The Pentagon's Mew Map, took much of the fear out of the War on Terror and replaced it with a challenge to America to engage with the other economic powers in the world to complete globalization and lift two billion more people out of poverty. His latest book, Great Powers, tells us why it's something we can and must do not only for those two billion people but for America's future. Particularly interesting are the parallels he draws between America's history and the state of things in many developing countries. Our government and our laws took generations to fully develop and its no suprise that the same is true elsewhere, China and Russia included. This book is a roadmap for the US for the next several generations. Barnett is nothing if not a hardheaded realist. He says that the military is still going to play a large role overseas in small wars but that the real goal is to get poor countries to attract capital and develop substantial economies of their own. This requires multinational trade and development efforts; the more countries the better. This not only lifts people out of poverty but takes away the rationale for terrorist activity.

To make the leap countries need to educate their children, boys and girls, adopt the business rules and institutions that permit foreign business to deal with them and gradually transition to governments that will work for the people not the ruling class. In Barnett's world, prosperity is king. By engaging with the other big economic players in the world the US can lead a team that can make this happen. If you are feeling sorry for the state of the world these days, this book will lift your spirits with its very believable "Yes we can!" message.
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Format: Hardcover
I think after reading this book that Thomas Barnett has created a masterpiece that focuses on the future, by reminding Americans of their past. Here is why: Barnett took the empirical evidence from works of hundreds of noted historians and primary sources and began to make a comparison of American history to today's world and more importantly to the world of tomorrow. All the while he continued to blog, writing his thoughts and collecting snippets of material from those 180+ who by way of responding, enlisted in his "Corp of Discovery" to chart a vision of the future. In the finest tradition of the Medici Effect, Tom Barnett collected all the intersecting ideas and points of information, mulled them over in his mind, shared them with his many readers, listened to their voices, gave presentations around the world and heard back from his audiences. Out of this mass of information he created Great Powers.

When I read Tom's work I am struck how much his view of American history dovetails with my own views. I am of the infamous boomer generation, but by fate was raised by my grandparents, who probably gave me as large a dose of "the Greatest Generation" as they had instilled in my mother, so I always seemed to feel more comfortable in my views of the world in that earlier cohort group. Today, as I teach my modern American history classes, I realize that lessons I have tried to instill into my students appear in Great Powers. So much has written about our history, concentrating on the greatest events or on our failures, as has been the case in the recent decades of navel gazing and self-loathing treatises. Tom boils it down to the really important events and persons responsible for today's rapidly connected world.
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