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97 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2010
During the endless presidential debates of 2007-2008, Mitt Romney stood out from the Republican crowd. Here was the former governor of the Liberal state of Massachusetts, the man who, when campaigning in 1994 said he had been "An Independent during Reagan-Bush". A former pro-choice candidate, he now ran as a hyper conservative Republican. Romney seemed an opportunist in the best sense of the word - a moderate, pragmatic Republican dressing up as an ultra conservative. Among the Republicans who have a realistic chance of winning the 2012 nomination, Romney seems like the most appealing option. So, although I rarely read books by politicians, I ordered Romney's, curious to know what he's got to say.

Romney writes well, and manages to communicate complicated ideas intelligently. He has to walk a fine line between policy discussions and public appeals, and hits a good balance. The book is however frequently overly sentimental , especially when Romney goes into one of his periodic paeans to American brilliance, goodness, and beauty.

The best aspect of "No Apology" is Romney's discussion of the US economy and related issues such as health care and the environment. He skillfully makes the case for "creative destruction" (i.e. market competition) and free trade. I particularly liked his acknowledgement of the costs of free trade to workers who lose their jobs -Romney's descriptions of his encounters with laid-off people, recognizing the ill effects of unemployment on people's self worth and dignity, is genuinely moving. Romney actually makes his case not by ignoring the downside, but by weighing benefits against cost. He also makes a very sensible point about America's need to liberalize its immigration policy in order to ensure that well educated foreigners who study in the US stay and contribute locally, rather than leave after having studied in America.

His points about regulation, taxation and the 2008-2009 bailouts are more open to question and less detailed, but exhibit the same awareness of the pros and cons of various positions. His criticism of the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats is exaggerated, but not overall implausible. He offers interesting approaches to the government's debt problems. The chapter on health care reform, while interesting, fails to discuss in detail the various healthcare bills promoted by the Obama administration and its allies. One suspects close scrutiny would show that they are more similar to the plan Romney instituted in Massachusetts than he'd care to admit. Perhaps most surprisingly, and despite his best efforts to disguise the fact, Romney is in favor of taxes on carbon emissions! Overall, while I don't agree with everything Romney says about these issues, he comes across as a thoughtful, pragmatic and non-doctrinaire Republican.

Unfortunately, the other parts of the book are far less impressive. The chapter on morality and culture is merely fluff; Romney briefly notes his opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, and activist judges, and then goes on endlessly about the importance of work, the family and the American way.

More troubling are the earlier chapters, the ones about foreign policy. They showcase a politician prone to cliché, to vilification of the current administration coupled with the white washing of the previous one, and perhaps most important, a politician without any ideas of how to deal with the world's complex problems.

Have you ever read a sentence more cliché than "No nation has shed more blood for more noble causes than the United States" (p.33)? How do you prove or disprove this bizarre assertion? The Soviet Union lost many more men fighting Nazi Germany than the US has. Was its cause weaker because it has been invaded by Nazi Germany first? But America was attacked by Japan, and Hitler had first declared war on the United States, not vice versa. In general I find the arithmetic of blood shedding gruesome. Do you count in absolute numbers or in percentages? If the former, does it amounts to the fact of America being a big country? And how do you account for blood spilled for ignoble causes? Do you deduct it from blood spilled for good causes (thus reaching "net blood")? What do you do with wars fought for a combination of noble and ignoble causes? Etc, etc...

Romney's main argument regarding foreign policy is that the Obama administration strengthens America's enemies and weakens its allies. If the book's title means anything, it is an attack on Obama's "apology tour", apologizing for American crimes, real and imagined. Romney strangely paints Obama as breaking with 50 years of strategic planning. That's absurd and over the top criticism of a stylistic device, which has helped shore up support for the United States in such mostly friendly countries as France, the UK, and Germany, while having little or no effect on the likes of Venezuela, Iran or Turkey. Romney is upset that Hugo Chavez and Muamar Qaddafi have praised Obama. But Chavez has revoked all of the praise he has dashed out early on, while Muamar Qaddafi is now a Western ally, albeit a capricious and eccentric one. Indeed, normalizing relationship with Libya is the one Middle Eastern accomplishment of the George W. Bush administration, and it is strange to see Romney disparaging it in order to score a cheap debating point.

All the criticism of Obama's foreign policy strikes me as remarkably unbalanced, given the lack of almost any criticism of the policies of George W. Bush. Whatever ill effects Obama's policies had on America's relationship with its allies, those are nowhere near the scale of the rift caused by the Bush Administration (remember "Freedom Fries", "Old Europe" and "Cheese-Eating-Surrender-Monkeys"?), and Obama has not plunged America into two unwinnable wars. Criticizing Obama's foreign policies is like berating your daughter for scratching your car while ignoring your son's scorching down the house.

Romney's ideas about how to reform America's foreign policy are nothing to write home about. He wants to emulate the regional division of the world which President Truman instituted in the US Army, and make sure that there's one official responsible for American diplomacy in any region of the world. This is unlikely to work: the system has hardly been a panacea for America's military: consider the military failures in Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia and (arguably) Iraq. Furthermore, US diplomacy is far more complicated than America's military operations, involving a host of issues (trade, economic issues, political issues, peace keeping, etc), as well as cross-nation effects (America needs Chinese and Russian cooperation in imposing sanctions on Iran, for example), so that policy towards any country would necessarily be beyond the responsibility of any one official.

Romney wants to increase US Military spending (p.32). But what for? None of the conflicts in the world today are likely to be resolvable mostly by force. A military attack on Iran is probably not a great idea, but even if it was, it's politically undoable and Romney doesn't suggest it. So, beyond the existing battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq where exactly will this massive army be deployed? Romney argues that the expenditures should be 4% of GDP, rather than 3.8% as it is today. But he never tells us how he got this number. Why not go back to the 6% it was during the Cold War? More generally, Romney argues that "America's greatness" and "America's power" requires that the US will keep its military superiority over the Chinese. This is folly; The Chinese economy is growing much faster than America's economy, and this is unlikely to change, because China is a lot poorer than America: it's catching up. China's economy will exceed America's GDP long before it'll approach its GDP per capita. Why would America want to engage in an Arms Race it is bound to lose?

In the book's final chapter, Romney wonders, in effect, how any reasonable American could be a Democrat. His discussion of this question mysteriously fails to mention the war in Iraq or the mess the Bush administration has made of America's economy. Romney's willful amnesia to one side, much of what Romney says about America's economic issues makes sense, and very little of it is utterly loony. If he would rethink his foreign policy views and tone down his culturally conservative agenda, he would be a Republican candidate moderates can seriously consider.
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222 of 300 people found the following review helpful
The answer to that question is why most readers will bother buying, borrowing or reading this book by the former Massachusetts Governor and 2008 Presidential primary candidate. In this time of national and international recession the voters and affected non-voters around the world are looking for a leader who can actually solve the major emergencies facing America, Freedom and Capitalism itself.
As the grandson of American Immigrants whose family was run out of Mexico by Mexican revolutionaries angry with American Expatriates, Mitt grew up as part of a family that worked themselves up from desperate poverty to live the American Dream. His father worked as a wall plasterer while he supported his family and worked his way through college. He eventually earned his way into the presidency of American Motor Corporation (AMC) and bet his house (or at least the money he'd made from selling his home) on the successful development of the Rambler compact car. He later became three-time governor of Michigan.
Mitt grew up in a family that had strong core values and he discusses those core values throughout this book. This reviewer actually met most of Mitt's family including Gov. George Romney when Mitt ran an unsuccessful campaign for Senate in Massachusetts. The whole family was part of that campaign and the lessons they learned with that loss served Mitt well a few years when he successfully won election for the Governorship of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Romney managed to do a good job managing that state even though he didn't have enough Republican legislative votes to uphold a veto and therefore had to reach across the aisle to the Democrats controlling the State House in order to accomplish his agenda.
Romney believes that if America becomes a victim of socialism that freedom throughout the world will be lost. If the nation is not careful, it will become a second rate world country--still strong enough to survive, but not strong enough to defend freedom anywhere else in the world.
"There are three pillars that sustain a free and strong America:
l. A Strong Economy
2. A Strong Military
3. A free and Strong People."
Romney then provides an agenda for a free and strong America. His list of goals includes 64 separate items and even Romney admits that his is not a complete list of changes needed. Studying that agenda will provide the reader with a decent idea of how Romney would tackle the nation's problems.
The book's second chapter "Why Nations Decline" is also instructive. Mitt briefly examines the reasons the Ottomans, the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Chinese, the British, the Soviets--these were all super-powers of their respective eras "and they were all surpassed." The reasons for these nation's failures were eerily similar to much of what is occurring in the USA and Western Europe.
The book examines many of the reasons for today's problems and provides some pretty decent ideas about how to solve them. Romney also describes why many people prefer to live in denial of the facts and why in past civilizations that failure to face undeniable facts led to the destruction of those great civilizations.
In the book's eleventh and last chapter this reader was surprised by some personal
stories that brought tears to my eyes. Since I was reading while seated at the Prudential Center Food Court Terrace, it was a little embarrassing to suddenly finding my eyes tearing up and salty streams trickling down my cheeks. That anything in this volume might require having tissues available was a total shock. Surprise, surprise, because the previous 99% of the book had been straight-forward logic and business-like explanations of Romney's beliefs and ideas on how to solve the nation's rapidly expanding and very dangerous problems, this ability to bring forth tears in an audience was enlightening.
The text was not boring and there was a little humor such as Mitt's description of the fall his wife Ann experienced when the stage they were speaking from in Dubuque, Iowa, collapsed. When she got up, "dusted herself off, and later ad-libbed, `Well, I fell on de butt in Dubuque.'" The man obvious isn't just a cool headed, unflappable, maybe sometimes seemingly unfeeling man; he is an experienced leader and well schooled in the workings of Capitalism, industrial production and job producing economics He is also amazingly well spoken and as Bostonians know, he used to sometimes substitute as a host on a popular conservative talk show in order to keep in touch with the Massachusetts public. He wasn't afraid to talk to the general public, but he relished the opportunity that only talk radio provides for contact with typical voters. He loved that form of give and take communication.
This is a good read for this political genre. It will provide the information that many people will need to decide if years of leadership experience should triumph over hope.
(Please take a moment to see and enjoy the customer photographs I've uploaded to this listing site.)
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96 of 135 people found the following review helpful
Considering the title No Apology, you might think this book is possibly just an attack ad on President Obama's "apology tour." To the contrary, No Apology is an expression of optimism, alongside the positive premise that we need to do more to pass America on to our kids and grand kids a free and strong nation.

No Apology is equally divided between foreign policy and domestic agenda concerns. If you watched Mitt's appearance on The View, you know his top three concerns (aside from replacing the President, the Senate, and Congress!) are protecting the threatened American dream (including managing debt), making Medicare sustainable, and reforming education (hiring from the top third of our schools and paying higher starting salaries to this higher standard of teachers!) These concerns along with some specific prescriptions and creative ideas are major themes of his book.

Ultimately, this book is Mitt's humble and inspiring attempt to contribute to the conversation of what America should be. It's not about election or reelection, but doing what is right for our kids and grandkids, the real America.

If you're not sure what to think of Mitt, be sure to take your Amazon copy of No Apology to one of the stops on his book tour! This book is authentic Mitt, and those who understand the real problems America is facing would be crazy not to consider him for our next President.
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121 of 171 people found the following review helpful
In his new book, which is perhaps his entry into the next presidential election, Mitt Romney talks about foreign policy and domestic issues --- he delivers some possible solutions as well. He wants America to be safe and active with a vigorous free market. He discusses national security, economic productivity, education and energy among other things.

Romney does use lots of data to back up his opinions. That's actually a good thing, though some people might be turned off by it.

Romney tells us, "This is a book about what I believe should be our primary national objective: to keep America strong and to preserve its place as the world's leading nation. And it describes the course I believe we must take to strengthen the nation in order to remain prosperous, secure, and free."

But we also learn about Romney, the man.

He is the son of a third generation American Immigrant whose family was run out of Mexico by Mexican revolutionaries. He grew up as part of a family that worked itself up from horrible poverty to live what most consider the American Dream.

His father worked as a wall plasterer while he supported his family and worked his way through college. Mitt's father became president of American Motor Corporation (AMC) and later became three-time governor of Michigan.

Romney discusses the values he grew up with. Of course, he went into politics like his father before him. He tells us in his book that if America turns to socialism, freedom throughout the world will be lost. If we are not careful with what we have left, we'll become a second-rate country.

I found the book enlightening and hopeful. I think you will too.

- Susanna K. Hutcheson
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2012
The next time some leftie claims that "Republicans have no ideas," you should make them aware of Paul Ryan's detailed budget plan -- and this book.

"No Apology" presents Romney's analysis of the world situation and many of his plans to restore American greatness. It is not an autobiography, a la Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, where the reader is "treated" to all the ups & downs of poor Barry's childhood and adolescence. "No Apology" is an analysis of the domestic and world situation, followed by plans to deal with the problems discovered. I suspect it is the sort of document Mitt Romney got used to creating as a top-tier consultant, then CEO, and then rescuer of the scandal-tainted Olympics in Salt Lake City.

He was successful at all these things, by the way, and most of his life has been executive experience, not counting the many hours of unpaid service to those in need or in trouble.

In short, the book is fairly heavy reading, though most people should be able to get through it pretty easily. It definitely answers the question of what Mitt Romney will do as President.

Very high recommendation indeed!
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I have to admit: I am not the biggest fan of books written by politicians that aim to serve their own agenda. Most of them are very programmatic and designed to put a positive spin on particular politician's agenda. They tend to be very self-serving and largely uninteresting. I was expecting something like that form this book as well, but to my great surprise this turned out to be an eminently readable and informative. Mitt Romney comes across as commanding all of the most important policy issues of the day, and it is clear from this book that he possesses both the experience and the erudition that is requisite for understanding the position and importance of the United States. As the very title suggests, he is unapologetically pro-American, as you would expect from any high-aiming politician in this country. And yet, he comes across as anything but an American chauvinist. He belongs to the school of thought in American foreign affairs that strongly believes that American involvement in the World is beneficial for both America and the World. At times when American leadership is viewed with suspicion, both by American international foes and erstwhile friends, and by political right and left at home, it is encouraging to see a politician of Romney's statue that speaks forcefully about a need for America to stand strong and keep being engaged.

In terms of domestic policy there have been a few eye-opening chapters. Romney is a big proponent of strong education, but unfortunately the present educational climate in the United States will likely thwart any hopes of reform. One of the most interesting tidbits of information in this book is the finding that, contrary to popular wisdom, there doesn't seem to be any correlation between the classroom size and the student performance. Likewise, the amount of money spent on education is also in and of itself completely irrelevant to the performance of schools. There are a few other very insightful topics in this book like this one. They show Romney the former consultant at his best - willing to listen to facts and numbers no matter how counterintuitive and unpopular they may be.

The sections and chapters on economic and business policy are particularly interesting. Romney is by far at his best when discussing economic and business issues. These days when these very issues dominate all the headlines it is important to be informed by people like Romney who can speak about them with authority and from decades of personal experience.

Overall, this is a very well written and engaging book, one that I was not willing to put down until I read through all of it. It has given me a new and deeper appreciation for Mitt Romney, especially in his intelligence and judgment when it comes to the most important issues of today. It is my hope that there will be an important place for Mitt Romney in American politics for years to come. America and the World need more people like him.
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49 of 69 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 3, 2010
I have to admit that I became angry with President Obama as he traveled the globe apologizing for the greatness of the United States. No other American President has stooped to such a low level to garner favor with other governments and other peoples. Has the United States made mistakes in the past? Absolutely! This is not the forum to debate those mistakes and why they were made. Suffice it to say, no government; no country; and no religion; and no people have clean hands. I'll take this country and our mistakes over anyone else.

Now, Mitt Romney's No Apology: The Case for American Greatness is a book that lays out a plan for changing the course the United States has been on that will halt the dry rot that is eating away at our foundations. No Apology is organized into intelligently written chapters laying out his arguments. Chapter 2, Why Nations Decline, is one of the most instructive in the whole book. Reading it is sobering (even I can see the connections). Equally sobering are the chapters dealing with domestic issues. However, No Apology is not a doom and gloom book. It states its concerns and warnings clearly but then provides ideas for solving the problems. I found the whole book to be one part alarming and three parts inspiring.

Some specifics?
Fact. Rebuild the manufacturing base in the country. No economy can exist without "manufacturing" and we need to be mindful of that fact. Minimum wage jobs in the fast food industry won't keep us strong.
Fact. Education needs to be fixed. We don't have enough engineers, designers, and just plain capable dreamers to keep the American economic engine going.
Fact. We need to be wary of both China and Russia. They're trying to overtake us militarily. We can pay for a strong defense in dollars, or pay on the battlefield in blood.

In total Romney gives us 64 points to think about and the book is loaded with data.

Finally, as another reviewer has pointed out, Chapter 11 provides the Mitt Romney backstory. Though I'm reasonably familiar with his story, I will say that I found the chapter to be very insightful. Given that the new paradigm for running for President seems to require the publication of a book, I would say that No Apology: The Case for American Greatness is a fitting effort and lays out the beginning of a campaign platform.

Regardless of your political affiliation, No Apology is worthwhile and important read.

I highly recommend.

Peace to all.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2010
There is no doubt that Mitt Romney is a controversial figure in America today. Democrats attack him, Republicans are divided. Unlike so many other politicians, however, Romney has articulated his positions here in clear English. Politicians tend to be experts on what others think, yet amazingly vague on their own positions. Like him or not, Mitt has the courage to say what he thinks.

Romney applies the title "No Apology" throughout the book. While superficially a critique of Obama's Apology tour through Europe, Mitt applies the spirit of the title to all of his positions. He is an unapologetic American, and believes in American greatness. He sees the greatness in America, and whether talking about defense, healthcare, or anything else he shows true American pride.

Romney is at his best on fiscal issues. No prominent politician today approaches his credibility as a capitalist and financial analyst. His views on current entitlements, government debt, and taxation are clearly presented, and frightening as a result. The math doesn't work, and Romney walks the reader through the accounting tricks used by Congress and the GAO to hide the true costs of these programs. His call for a governmental "balance sheet" in unique among those seeking high office.

Candidly, I expected Romney to be great on fiscal issues. The surprise was his strength on social and environmental issues. He applies the same analytical approach to these issues, and reaches candid conclusions. He supports alternative fuel research, not so much for fear of global warming but for purely practical reasons. His concern for American families is genuine, and his contempt of governmental programs that destroy them obvious. Romney is a hawk, something I wasn't expecting. His reasoning around the threats to America and the their implications on our military are enlightening.

Having read the book, I found Mitt more of a centrist that I expected. He frequently quotes (and agrees with) Thomas Friedman and other moderates. His epilogue, where he recaps the specific ideas of the book, is alone worth the price I paid.

It is truly unfortunate that the spin, mud-slinging, and attacks in American politics completely drown out any discussion of ideas. Candidates talk far more about their challengers than about their own positions. In this book, Romney paints a clear picture of what he thinks needs to be done. Read it, then laugh out loud for the next several years and everyone else tries to tell you what the man really thinks.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2012
Books written by politicians are nothing new, but this one has more substance than any other one I've read. I knew what America's problems were before reading this book. However, now I definitely have a deeper understanding of the issues plaguing America today and pros and cons of various alternataives - more than the 60 second clips you hear in debates and read in newspapers. Of course Mitt is presenting HIS position on everything but in most cases he did provide the opposition's viewpoint as well so it was somewhat balanced.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2012
Before reading this book I was unaware of the depth of Romney's views on this variety of important issues facing our government. They are presented here in a clear and concise manner and with the logic to support them and are stated with the apparent courage to support beliefs that may not be the most popular with some of his own political party which could be more convenient. That approach may be just what the country needs!
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