From Publishers Weekly
The "American Century" is over. According to Khanna (The Second World), "we are in for a fractured, fragmented, multi-polar" world, a new Middle Ages of decentralized power where "corporations, powerful families, humanitarians, religious radicals, universities, and mercenaries are all part of the diplomatic landscape." In a world of "mega-diplomacy," efficient remedies to global poverty, environmental crisis, and genocidal threats will require fresh combinations of governments, NGOs, and corporations that can marshal "global resources to solve local problems." His book is an excellent introduction to worthy organizations tackling social and political problems, but in going for a panoramic sweep and trying to cover so many topics, the analysis deals with none in depth. Case studies rarely pass the two-page mark, and Khanna drowns the reader in data stripped of context and resonance. His vaunting of celebrity activists feels callow, and his championing of online petition sites is premature--the real efficacy of such methods is still in question. Khanna writes clearly, with conviction and charm, and his neomedieval metaphor is so intriguing that readers will regret Khanna's decision to stay in the shallows. (Jan.) (c)
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If only the rest of this book were as lively and succinct as the title is. Instead, Khanna’s strong main point—that the problems of a decentralized, post–cold war world demand far more creative solutions than they’ve received—loses its way in the author’s discursive and, frankly, often boring text. Still, for readers willing to make the slog, they’ll find much value here: for example, a delineation of the new global political players, an explanation of failed states (those in name and on maps only), and an understanding of the interconnectivity needed to solve the world’s most pressing problems. As the author has appeared on CNN and in such publications as the New York Times, expect some author exposure in electronic and print media. --Alan Moores