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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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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
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
Top customer reviews
We should have more this kind Politician stand up in front of American.
Leading up our country for "her Value",Identify the danger zone.
We made a huge mistake for Iraq war. We can't afford another middle East hostility. Wake-up all American,----We "against War"!
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.
On the other hand, the book does a very good job explaining how the emotional climate in Washington led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act and all of the domestic "improvements" in law enforcement that have led to losses of individual privacy and greater government intrusion in all of our lives. Feingold's description of living and working in a city with a real fear that airliners might come crashing into the capital followed by repeated anthrax scares and the dislocation of office staff and the sterilization of the offices and the mail, provides a context that explains how a lot of legislation was passed after 9-11.
Feingold does a good job of explaining how borders fail to delineate the outline of threats to our national interests and argues that our leaders need to do a better job of understanding why different groups act as they do. In his explanations, however, he seems more to be positioning himself as a centrist democrat, instead of an advocate of a new and better understanding of the world.
Despite its focus on international relations, the book's and the author's comments remind us of Tip O'Neal's maxim that all politics is local. Feingold seems to be running from his popular image as a liberal, and back to a reflection of his constituents. I am happy that he voted against the Patriot Act and against the invasion of Irag, I just wish he would say he did so because it was the right thing to do, and he would do it again. Instead, the book seems to be an explanation of his outlying votes in the hope he he can make an electoral comeback from the middle of the road (where Jim Hightower explains your find the dead armadillos).
I hope he succeeds in his comeback. I just wish he had the courage to explain why his outlying votes were the right ones.
The book is a slog, with occasional insights. I wish the author well. I just wish he could tell a better story.