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The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism Hardcover – August 5, 2008

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Editorial Reviews Review

From Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author Ron Suskind comes a startling look at how America lost its way and at the nation’s struggle, day by day, to reclaim the moral authority upon which its survival depends. From the White House to Downing Street, from the fault-line countries of South Asia to the sands of Guantánamo, Suskind offers an astonishing story that connects world leaders to the forces waging today’s shadow wars and to the next generation of global citizens. Tracking down truth and hope within the Beltway and far beyond it, Suskind delivers historic disclosures with this emotionally stirring and strikingly original portrait of the post-9/11 world. In a sweeping, propulsive, and multilayered narrative, The Way of the World investigates how America relinquished the moral leadership it now desperately needs to fight the real threat of our era: a nuclear weapon in the hands of terrorists. Truth, justice, and accountability become more than mere words in this story. Suskind shows where the most neglected dangers lie in the story of "The Armageddon Test" —a desperate gamble to send undercover teams into the world’s nuclear black market to frustrate the efforts of terrorists trying to procure weapons-grade uranium. In the end, he finally reveals for the first time the explosive falsehood underlying the Iraq War and the entire Bush presidency. While the public and political realms struggle, The Way of the World simultaneously follows an ensemble of characters in America and abroad who are turning fear and frustration into a desperate—and often daring—brand of human salvation. They include a striving, twenty-four-year-old Pakistani émigré, a fearless UN refugee commissioner, an Afghan teenager, a Holocaust survivor’s son, and Benazir Bhutto, who discovers, days before her death, how she’s been abandoned by the United States at her moment of greatest need. They are all testing American values at a time of peril, and discovering solutions—human solutions—to so much that has gone wrong. For anyone hoping to exercise truly informed consent and begin the process of restoring the values and hope—along with the moral clarity and earned optimism—at the heart of the American tradition, The Way of the World is a must-read.

From Publishers Weekly

Suskind's take on the downfall of America's authority begins with what led to the attacks on September 11 and charts the countrys subsequent tarnished international identity. Tackling tough issues with historic disclosures (including the accusation that members of the U.S. government forged documents and lied to win approval for going to war in Iraq), the Pulitzer Prize–winning former Wall Street Journal reporter offers compelling and provocative stories. Unfortunately, Alan Sklar's narration will surely cause many listeners to lose interest. Sklar tends to drone and his dry, monotone voice bears very little passion or intensity. His uninspired reading lessens the impact of Suskinds masterful research. A HarperCollins hardcover. (Sept.)
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

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061430625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061430626
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #853,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Ron Suskind is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Way of the World, The One Percent Doctrine, The Price of Loyalty, and A Hope in the Unseen. From 1993 to 2000 he was the senior national affairs writer for the Wall Street Journal, where he won a Pulitzer Prize. His newest book, Life, Animated, chronicles his son Owen's struggle with autism and the way in which the family used Owen's affinity for Disney to connect with him. He lives in Cambridge, MA, where he is Senior Fellow at Harvard's Safra Center for Ethics.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By John E. Norman on December 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When I started reading _The Way Of The World_, I was hoping that I would be able to give it a five-star review. Unfortunately, I cannot. The book is poorly edited and poorly proofread. There is a distressing number of glaring errors of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Also, Suskind's writing style is leaden and preachy at times. He gives long, detailed descriptions of conversations in which people aren't talking about much of anything. The book is structured in a way that makes you feel like you are reading five or six long magazine articles simultaneously. First, you have a page about the exchange student from Afghanistan. Then, a page about the innocent man who was arrested just because police thought he looked suspicious. Then a page about the innocent man being detained at Guantanamo, and his lawyer. Then, a page about the anti-terrorism expert. Then, another page about the exchange student. Then, another page about the Pakistani who was walking near the White House wearing a backpack. Another page about the suffering man in Guantanamo. Suskind keeps jumping around like this, giving a fragment of one story, then a fragment of another, then another. Reading a book that is written this way can get tedious after a while. I think it would have been better if Suskind had simply told each story from start to finish without interruption, and given each story a separate chapter.

Even more serious is the question of whether Suskind has been careful to check his facts. For example, on page 119, he says that Donald Rumsfeld resigned as Defense Secretary in mid-December of 2006. Rumsfeld resigned on November 8th. It makes you wonder. If Suskind couldn't get it right when talking about such a well-known and easily checkable fact, how can we be sure he got his other facts right?
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173 of 222 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
EDIT of 3 Sep 08 to add CIA published denial and attack, and comment from Association of Former Intelligence Officers, as a comment.

I have reviewed all the books linked to below, and my reviews of those books will add depth to this review.

Ron Suskind's first book on the current Administration, The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 was extraordinary for its deep look at Dick Cheney and how since his Ford days, he has always favored unfettered Executive power and has never, in every Continuity of Government exercise, NEVER, given any thought to Congress. He ALWAYS went for an Executive dictatorship that used "war powers" to overturn the Constitution and every single civil liberty. However, the better books on Cheney (25 documented high crimes) and Bush (a tragedy within a farce) are these:

Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
The Bush Tragedy

The media and the other reviewers are placing excessive emphasis on the forgery. This is old news. Vaclav Havel, former President of Czechoslovakia, personally said that the White House claims that Iraqi intelligence met Al Qaeda in his country were false.
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216 of 278 people found the following review helpful By Susanna Hutcheson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What amazes me about all of these tell-all books about the Bush white house is the fact that Bush demands, and seems to have gotten to a large degree, a good deal of loyalty. But in this new book, it seems everyone (or many) are anxious to talk.

It's interesting that the author tells much of the story in the present tense. Curious indeed.

Ron Suskind writes in this book that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein.

The White House denies all of this. Of course, one can expect this. But I find the book not well documented. So I had to question some of the assertions.

The author also claims that the Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official "that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq - intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion." This indeed is old news.

The author goes on to say, "The White House had concocted a fake letter from Habbush to Saddam, backdated to July 1, 2001."

He continues, "It said that 9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta had actually trained for his mission in Iraq - thus showing, finally, that there was an operational link between Saddam and al Qaeda, something the Vice President's Office had been pressing CIA to prove since 9/11 as a justification to invade Iraq. There is no link."

This is a very fascinating book. While the author has been accused of being a "gutter journalist", one wonders if there is truth to this. On the other hand, I didn't feel the author really proved his case. And the book seemed fragmented and not well constructed. Certainly not up to his standards.
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