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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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From Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist and bestselling author Ron Suskind comes a startling look at how America lost its way and at the nations 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 todays 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 worlds 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 desperateand often daringbrand of human salvation. They include a striving, twenty-four-year-old Pakistani émigré, a fearless UN refugee commissioner, an Afghan teenager, a Holocaust survivors son, and Benazir Bhutto, who discovers, days before her death, how shes 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 solutionshuman solutionsto so much that has gone wrong. For anyone hoping to exercise truly informed consent and begin the process of restoring the values and hopealong with the moral clarity and earned optimismat 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 the Paperback edition.
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Suskind's argument is that his protagonists illustrate some of the most praiseworthy things about the United States, and I'd certainly agree with him. But his motif of the Marshall Plan doesn't work - the Marshall Plan was not, or not only, a shining example of American altruism. It was a way to keep US jobs for returning servicemen - if the governments of Europe had no buying power, then the US economy might go right back into depression, with millions of ex-soldiers now unemployed. This is not a recipe for internal stability. The Marshall Plan did send messages about US commitment, but that's not the only reason it happened. Suskind may have higher expectations for the US government than will ever be fulfilled; his use of the Marshall Plan to argue for American unselfishness doesn't quite hold up. The people he's interviewed clearly *are* on the side of the good, but it's not clear the US government will ever be motivated only by that.
One senses the careful urgency, the need to correct mistakes, make different choices, and the areas and means/avenues of hope, along with the growing awareness of the immensity of the complex problem and the need to get busy in some very, very different ways. A book to be read and re-read, a must for every American able to think beyond "We're all powerful; we're always right; just "stomp 'em." A much needed SMASH!!