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Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower Paperback – Bargain Price, April 7, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books, New York, NY; Pbk. Ed edition (April 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465003559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465003556
  • ASIN: B001G8WJY0
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,611,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"No one understands the interdependence of power and principle better than Zbigniew Brzezinski." Jimmy Carter "This excellent short book... is about more than errors of the present administration's foreign policy. George W. Bush certainly comes in for searing criticism, not least over Iraq and his one-sided approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict. But what makes Mr Brzezinski's account interesting - and, in parts, intellectually demanding - is the sense it makes of the great swirl of shifting forces that set the context." Financial Times "It goes against the grain of much commentary confined within the parameters of established US thinking on the subject." Irish Times "In his compelling new book...Mr. Brzezinski not only assesses the short- and long-term fallout of the Iraq war, but also puts that grim situation in perspective... the author writes with a keen understanding of the ways in which military or political actions in one part of the world can affect developments in another region...Mr. Brzezinski's verdict on the current president's record - 'catastrophic,' he calls it - is nothing short of devastating" New York Times "Brzezinski has described the challenge of future American leadership with unusual clarity." Washington Post"

About the Author

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, is a counselor and trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a professor of American foreign policy at the School of Advanced International Studies, the Johns Hopkins University, both located in Washington, D.C. His many books include The Choice and The Grand Chessboard. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Customer Reviews

This is a must read book for anyone who is in the voting age!
love kafa
Zbigniew Brzezinski presents a brilliant analysis why three presidents, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II failed to be great leaders.
A Customer
I believe the most he says is that America will cease to be a world leader.
J. Branham

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

239 of 255 people found the following review helpful By David W. Straight on March 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A great book by the finest foreign policy thinker of the past 100 years.

Brzezinski analyzes the foreign policy of the last three presidents

(Bush I, Clinton, Bush II) and provides wonderful insights and coherent

criticism--good and bad--of each. The most relevant material is about

the current situation, but understanding the foreign policy of Bush I

and Clinton is essential if one wants to understand what is happening now.

The book's title "Second Chance" refers to what is needed after 2008 to

try to reestablish the global leadership of the United States.

You are not going to get simplistic answers here--"Us versus Them", "Good

versus Evil", "Our enemies hate freedom". Brzezinski shows that many

of the current views--"Arabs respect force above all else", "Democracy

can be imposed from outside", and the like have no basis in reality.

He also warns of the growing closeness between Russia and China, and

he is concerned that China will become the dominant player in the Middle

East, with a growing market for oil, a willingness to provide weapons,

and the absence of a patronizing attitude. The world is a very complex

place, and there are no easy answers. This is definitely not a feel-good

book. As Brzezinski says, we have created a disaster which with very

careful work can eventually be remedied--but there will be no third

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166 of 185 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on March 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Brzezinski is incomparably qualified to explain and comment on foreign affairs in the last two decades, given his high-level academic and experiential backgrounds, and numerous current contacts. "Second Chance" begins by pointing out that the U.S., having emerged from the Cold War as the unquestioned victor, enjoyed an unprecedented degree of international dominance. Unfortunately, the subsequent three presidents squandered a great deal of its power and prestige - especially Bush II. Brzezinski's intent is to lay out all the problems in the hope that America does better when it gets a second chance after the '08 elections.

Before getting into the details, however, Brzezinski also points out that the collapse of the Soviet was NOT the work of a single person (Ronald Reagan), but the consequence of a 40-year bipartisan effort, beginning with Harry Truman, and also aided by Lech Walesa (defied communism for a decade and compelled compromises that ended communist monopoly on power and precipitated uprisings in Czechoslovakia and Hungary), Pope John Paul II (revived spiritual viability), and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Bush I, according to Brzezinski, did a good (B) job overall - his main achievements were dealing positively with Gorbachev and the U.S.S.R.'s collapse, and then building an impressive coalition to handle Hussein. His two criticisms are that Bush could have done more to resolve the Israeli-Palestine rift (though he did forcefully confront Israel's push to expand settlements), and that Bush I left the Iraq problem unresolved.

Clinton, according to "Second Chance" worked well to move former USSR warheads back into the new Russia, preventing proliferation.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on April 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When Zbigniew Brezezinski speaks people listen. And when he writes people listen with added alacrity. This book is terrific. Fairness in mind, Brezezinski forces open many long-held thoughts...the first President Bush had a number of merits under his cap, President Clinton meant well, but was otherwise disengaged and the current president stands where he should fall...a total loss, not only to our country but to the rest of the world at large.

While it is fascinating to watch the author mow through parts of the past fifteen years...years he correctly assumes as a nano-second in history...he pulls no punches with regard to our last three presidents. "Second Chance" is a critical look at these past few years and the author rightly comes down with a scorecard, saving his best for last...George W. Bush.

It's hard to believe, as Brzezinski points out, how far we've fallen during Bush's presidency. Could the Iraq war be the biggest policy blunder in American history? He seems to think so as echoed by one he sizes up as astute in the book...Madeleine Albright.

"Second Chance" is a sober and hard-hitting look at today's America. I highly recommend it for its dead-on honesty written by one whose integrity is without question.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kug VINE VOICE on June 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I happen to hear this guy on Charlie Rose the other night and went out and bought his book. The book isnt as interesting as he is in an interview live but its well worth the read.

His analysis of the past three administrations is superb. It is balanced and I think offers great insight into the hits and misses of our leaders. He goes on to explain his views on the world post Russia and our missed opportunites. His close of post 2008 I would love to hear discussed by him and others.

An important book for this country. Get it and read it and act.
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