This book provides a comprehensive and sobering perspective of the international community. The main premise, that the world has moved past an age where it once was dominated and cared for by all things American,is well supported and relevant. The first two or three chapters develop on this theme showing how other countries have their own cultures and economies which remain less penetrated than we might think by American hard and soft power.
Later in the book there are a few chapters that are merely so-so. One chapter in particular, about the historic reasons why the West developed and other cultures did not, deals with a topic that is perhaps best left to other authors. There are also chapters devoted to the rise of China and India, which are okay, but, there is nothing special about them.
Near the final chapter of the book comes a section about what a relative decline in power means for America. It highlights the prominent features of the process, and dismisses other facts and figures as scaremongering perspectives on the subject. This section of the book is largely the same as an article he wrote for Foriegn Affairs. It's an important read.
Overall, the book's stregnth lies in the fact that it provides a pragmatic and comprehensive picture of the international scene without overembelishment. Although the book takes a few detours down roads that are not entirely related to the main idea, or thoroughly comprehensive, it doesn't detract from the sections of the book that are pure gold.
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