We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
That Used to Be Us Audiobook

That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back

Regular Price:$34.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

America has a huge problem. It faces four major challenges, on which its future depends, and it is failing to meet them. In That Used to Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman, one of our most influential columnists, and Michael Mandelbaum, one of our leading foreign policy thinkers, analyze those challenges - globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation's chronic deficits, and its pattern of energy consumption - and spell out what we need to do now to rediscover America and rise to this moment.

They explain how the end of the cold war blinded the nation to the need to address these issues. They show how our history, when properly understood, provides the key to addressing them, and explain how the paralysis of our political system and the erosion of key American values have made it impossible for us to carry out the policies the country needs. They offer a way out of the trap into which the country has fallen, which includes the rediscovery of some of our most valuable traditions and the creation of a new, third-party movement.

That Used to Be Us is both a searching exploration of the American condition today and a rousing manifesto for American renewal. "As we were writing this book," Friedman and Mandelbaum explain, "we found that when we shared the title with people, they would often nod ruefully and ask: 'But does it have a happy ending?' Our answer is that we can write a happy ending, but it is up to the country - to all of us - to determine whether it is fiction or nonfiction. We need to study harder, save more, spend less, invest wisely, and get back to the formula that made us successful as a country in every previous historical turn. What we need is not novel or foreign, but values, priorities, and practices embedded in our history and culture, applied time and again to propel us forward as a country. That is all part of our past. That used to be us and can be again - if we will it."

©2011 Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum (P)2011 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (548 )
5 star
 (228)
4 star
 (192)
3 star
 (70)
2 star
 (35)
1 star
 (23)
Overall
4.0 (441 )
5 star
 (186)
4 star
 (146)
3 star
 (66)
2 star
 (21)
1 star
 (22)
Story
4.1 (449 )
5 star
 (181)
4 star
 (176)
3 star
 (60)
2 star
 (20)
1 star
 (12)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Andrew J. King 05-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    45
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Liberal BS"

    Just read title of this review As soon the Author mentioned Global Warming. Enough Said!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Sulier 04-14-12
    B. Sulier 04-14-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    116
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "All politicians should have a copy"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Excellent! Great view of the world and the USA. Suggestions for change are workable and intelligent. I sent a copy to my Senators, my Representative, my Assemblyman and my son-in-law.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn 02-02-12
    Lynn 02-02-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    903
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    162
    144
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    379
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Could Use More Policy Recommendations and Analysis"

    Thomas Friedman (The World is Flat) returns with Michael Mandelbaum to consider how America fell behind the rest of the world and to recommend how she might be able to get back on track. They consider education, the debt, denial of climate change and energy policy, and political failure in Washington. There is little new here for anyone who reads the newspapers and I wish Friedman and Mandelbaum had focused more on remedies and public policy than they did. The reading of Jason Culp is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 12-01-11
    David 12-01-11 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    18
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting, educational,"

    This book is not only a civic lesson, interesting told, it is an application of what made us great applied to our future. Every citizen in the US should read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Rochester, MN, United States 11-22-11
    Michael Rochester, MN, United States 11-22-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    14
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing!"

    This is one of the most important books I have read in many years. The authors really seem to have a grasp on the issues that our society is facing and offer excellent insight into what needs to be done to get us back on track. I highly recommend this book for anyone who cares about where we are as a society, how we got there, and what we need to do.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fred greensboro nc 11-10-11
    fred greensboro nc 11-10-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    139
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    147
    97
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Medicine tastes bad but it works"

    I am a Tom Friedman fan. I like his writing style. I like his point of view. The authors are pushing some really important stuff that we need to address now, not eventually. They come down really hard on many of our leaders. They point out over and over and over and over and over again the problems and do come up with some solutions but like most medicine, the solutions don't taste good. They're good writers, so they end the book with nice positive, success stories. Don't be a wimp. Don't just jump to the end to hear the good stuff. Take your medicine like a good kid and you'll feel better at the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles United States 10-30-11
    Charles United States 10-30-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not quite as good"

    After reading and enjoying the World is Flat, this one just doesn't quite measure up. Possibly better if you had not read the prior work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wallace Winnetka, IL, United States 10-22-11
    Wallace Winnetka, IL, United States 10-22-11 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    52
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "That was never us"

    If you have already read or listened to "The World is Flat 3.0" and "Hot, Flat and Crowded 2.0", then there is only a small amount of new information in this book. There are new stories that focus on the same themes that are present in the other two books.

    This book begins with the theme that there are areas where the United States used to do a good job but now appears to be lagging ("That used to be us"). However, as the book proceeds, these are mixed up with the authors' views about how we "should" be. For example, there is a chapter on the values of having a diverse military. That diversity is a very recent phenomena and the recent changes in the way gays and lesbians are treated are largely in their infancy. As another example, there are several chapters related to how workers must train and work in order to be competitive in the modern global economy. The authors might be right about their suggestions, but these suggestions are not drawn from how we once were.

    As might be expected, a fairly large amount of the material concerns the problems in our schools. Again, however, none of the proposals really are generated by looking at how we once taught students in the United States. Previous generations were taught all about the explorers of North America and these explorers were largely treated as heroes. There was no mention of the Vikings or of the slaughter of Native Americans. Cowboys were the heroes and Indians were the enemies. Students were "tracked" so that the best students got the best teachers. Students with handicaps were not main streamed. Students ate at home. There were no social workers in the schools and certainly no police. That used to be us. Should we go back to the agenda to make our schools more competitive?

    When you try to solve very difficult problems by picking out certain things from the past while ignoring other important things, then you end up with a book that presents the political views of the authors. If you are 100% behind the choice of antidotes that authors choose, then you will like this book. If you haven't read the two previous books, then there is good information that you should not ignore. If you have read the two previous books and you are skeptical about Friedman's political ideology, then I consider this book a waste of time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 09-22-11
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 09-22-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    965
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    545
    431
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    277
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "nothing new here"

    Expected more, after enjoying The World is Flat and Hot, Flat and Crowded. Their big idea for what it's going to take to turn the battleship is, in my view, unrealistic.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lyle Longmont, CO, United States 11-22-11
    Lyle Longmont, CO, United States 11-22-11 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    116
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "True UNFORTUNATELY."

    What happened to AMERICA?????? To think that I was part of this, makes my vote more important.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.