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While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era Hardcover – February 21, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (February 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307952525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307952523
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

While serving as a U.S. senator from Wisconsin for nearly two decades, most notably as a member of the prestigious Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees, Feingold, knowledgeable and influential, enjoyed an ideal vantage point from which to analyze the nation’s approach to both global and domestic affairs. As a private citizen, Feingold now reflects on his tenure in office, focusing specifically on years following the attacks of 9/11, and looks ahead. He warns of a growing complacency regarding international politics and terrorism and bemoans the fact that Americans are myopically more willing to focus on the trivialities of popular culture and media-fueled controversies than matters of long-term substance. With precise recommendations in areas as diverse as citizen-advocacy programs and foreign-language education, Feingold offers a thoughtful prescription for elected officials and voters alike, and he invokes a passionate plea for every American to realize the momentous connections between ourselves and others around the world so that our nation is better able to proactively meet future challenges. --Carol Haggas

Review

Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week

"In While America Sleeps, Russ Feingold takes us behind the scenes in the Congress in the time leading up to and following 9/11. In thoroughly analyzing the good decisions and the many dangerous mistakes that were made after the attacks, Senator Feingold gives us insights that should help Americans support policies that keep us and our liberties secure.  This book will alarm you, entertain you, enlighten you, and prepare you as citizens to engage in the national debate about a crucial part of our foreign policies." –Senator Bob Kerrey
 
“While we hail from different political parties and most often disagree about the issues of the day, I have never met a more decent or honest public servant than Russ Feingold. We don’t often hear about Members of Congress with the courage of their convictions, but Russ lived that quality every day in the U.S. Senate. We waged many battles together for campaign finance reform, and I am honored to call him my friend. In his new book, While America Sleeps, Russ illuminates some of the challenges our nation faces in the post-9/11 era with his trademark integrity and independence.” –Senator John McCain
  
“Great senator! Great book!” –Lorrie Moore, author of A Gate at the Stairs
 
“Feingold offers a thoughtful prescription for elected officials and voters alike, and he invokes a passionate plea for every American to realize the momentous connections between ourselves and others around the world so that our nation is better able to proactively meet future challenges.”   –Booklist
 
“Sage, sensible words by a leader who can now point to how right he was.” –Kirkus
 
“[Feingold’s] shockingly reasonable and carefully considered responses, as well as his respect for, and collaboration with, such Republican colleagues as John McCain and John Ashcroft, will make progressives, Wisconsinites, and other frustrated Americans nostalgic for the days of a more thoughtful, productive Congress.” –Publishers Weekly

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By J. Benishek on February 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am still in shock that someone like Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) beat someone as intelligent and logical as Russ Feingold. In this book, Feingold (a fairly liberal thinker), presents nonpartisan issues with clarity. In my opinion, he presents a new way of seeing things, and he offers ideas on how to become a stronger, and more united country. I'd highly recommend this book!
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42 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Tw Rutledge on February 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Thank you, Senator Feingold, for this book and for your service to the people of our nation. As a psychotherapist I have been concerned (understatement) about our government's response to the terrorists attacks of 9-11-01 from the beginning. I was just putting the final touches on my book Embracing Fear in September 2001 and resisted the temptation to revamping that book to address people's response to the attacks. Only with hindsight can I see that a book about how to respond to fears generated that day might have been the way to go. Little did any of us know at that time that our national response to a terrorist attack would be to become more traumatized and terrified than strong and courageous. The ridiculous political division in America today is not so much the result of our having been attacked on our own soil but instead the result of our willingness to be terrorized. That is just psych 101.

With "While America Sleeps," Senator Feingold tells a very important story from inside our government. Being courageous is nothing new to the author: he has been doing that throughout his time in the U.S. Senate and I have no doubt long before that. My wish is that all Americans could read this book with open minds and hearts and be willing to be influenced (not controlled, not convinced) by what Senator Feingold has to tell us.

Embracing Fear: How to Turn What Scares Us into Our Greatest Gift
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nona on March 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Russ Feingold's votes against the Patriot Act and the invasion of Iraq made him a hero to many Americans. His book takes him down from the pedestal and turns him in to another local politician.

Feingold credits his decisions in Washington to the wisdom his constituents imparted during his numerous town hall meetings in Wisconsin. According to Russ, his constituents didn't understand why we invaded Iraq, or why Washington was so consumed with the war on terror, so as a good representative he just carried out the wishes of his constituents, even if that included bringing homeland security funds to central Wisconsin to prevent the terrorists from interrupting fishing tournaments.

Feingold explains why the justification for the war in Iraq was a lie, but he totally fails to explain why the administration wanted to go to war. Sure shock and awe and patriotism makes for great TV, and Feingold discusses how the political parties are more concerned with gotcha moments than legislating and dealing with issues, but he never comes out and points a finger at the liers (his words not mine) and says the government lied to us so we would go to war and kill a lot of Iraqis and a much smaller number of Americans so that... . To me, why we invaded Iraq is one of the great mysteries of American politics. I understand all of the reasons to go to war in Iraq were lies. I understand, we have wasted lives and money. I just don't understand what the liers thought we would accomplish. I hoped for some enlightenment about why we went to war. Instead, this book just tells us we went to war based on lies, but doesn't tell us why the liers were lying.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Gettler on March 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
For the sake of disclosure I will start by saying that I interned for (former) Senator Russ Feingold's campaign committee while a senior at UW-Madison. He was then and continues to be a real hero - and for good reason.

This book is great from cover to cover. Russ explains in detail the process and lack of process for the Patriot Act, Iraq War, and tells great stories of Obama joining the Senate and quickly asking Russ if he was running for office - great stuff.

Perhaps most interesting was Russ' statement that disagreeing with the Iraq war was not a "slam dunk" - referring of course to former CIA Director George Tenet's remark that the case for WMD in Iraq was a "slam dunk." I happened to intern for Russ between January and May of 2003 - coinciding exactly with the run up to and start of the war.

While Russ doesn't shy away from a few jabs at how he lost the campaign, he covers his famous "listening sessions" in great detail, especially in tea-party time.

I for one think Russ NEEDS to be the next choice for the Supreme Court. I could see him getting Secretary of State, too, but having Russ on the Supreme Court would finally bring a Brennan-like mind to a court that has chipped away at our civil liberties consistently for over 30 years.

Read this book!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Meagan @ Blooming with Books on March 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
While America Sleeps:
A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era
By Russ Feingold

While America Sleeps is an insightful look from former US Senator Russ Feingold in how America contributed to the its own fall. By assuming an attitude of disinterest in the world outside our own we convinced the rest of the world that we don't care about their plight or day-to-day struggles unless there is something in it for us.

America ignored the warning signs, thinking the mere greatness of our name would keep us safe. But we were rudely awakened on September 11, 2001 when we were attacked on our own soil not with conventional weapons, but with airplanes.

But in the "war on terror" that followed we lost our focus. Instead of focusing on Al Qaeda we determined that we needed a target with boundaries, we needed to focus our attention on a country we could see rather than faceless terrorists that could be hidden throughout the world's vast population.

While the majority of the country had to return to its normal day-to-day life, Washington was scared. And any threat whether or not it was credible added to the anxiety. 9/11 gave certain government agencies the excuse needed to end or curtail basic freedoms Americans expected. Privacy was one victim of 9/11. Under the Patriot Act the government claimed the right to Library records, records of phone and internet usage, and the right to search and seizure without notice.

9/11 also provided the government with a reason to torture post 9/11 detainees, while they downplayed the inhuman cruelty of a practice that did not lead to the capture of Osama bin Laden.

Playing on fear these government agencies grabbed power that was not theirs and refuse to let it go.
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