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» » Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11
Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11


Thomas L. Friedman


Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11


Politics & Social Sciences

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Macmillan Audio; Abridged edition (October 4, 2002)




Politics and Government

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Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 by Thomas L. Friedman

America's leading observer of the international scene on the minute-by-minute events of September 11th--before, during and after As the Foreign Affairs columnist for the The New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman is in a unique position to interpret the world for American readers. Twice a week, Friedman's celebrated commentary provides the most trenchant, pithy,and illuminating perspective in journalism.Longitudes and Attitudes contains the columns Friedman has published about the most momentous news story of our time, as well as a diary of his experiences and reactions during this period of crisis. As the author writes, the book is "not meant to be a comprehensive study of September 11 and all the factors that went into it. Rather, my hope is that it will constitute a 'word album' that captures and preserves the raw, unpolished, emotional and analytical responses that illustrate how I, and others, felt as we tried to grapple with September and its aftermath, as they were unfolding."Readers have repeatedly said that Friedman has expressed the essence of their own feelings, helping them not only by explaining who "they" are, but also by reassuring us about who "we" are. More than any other journalist writing, Friedman gives voice to America's awakening sense of its role in a changed world.
Thomas L. Friedman is an American journalist and book author most famous for his weekly political column New York Times. This book is mostly a collection of his NYT columns published in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and most of them deal with one question: how should the US and its allies proceed in an increasingly small, interconnected and unsafe world? Thankfully Friedman presents reasonable, insightful and empathetic views, eschewing both hawkishness and bleeding-heart liberalism. I particularly enjoyed his explanations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the love/hate relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US, the political and religious tensions in the Middle East. It should also be noted that Friedman is no armchair analyst: in search of the material for his columns he travels to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Russia and Afghanistan among other places, and he's not afraid to talk both with the privileged and the poor, the religious and the secular, the moderates and the radicals.

That said, sometimes Friedman's analysis turns out to be too simplistic and shallow for my liking. "We should persuade the Arab world that the US has no problem with Islam because it was such a staunch defender of Muslims in the Yugoslav Wars." Umm okay, but are you aware that there are different Muslim denominations and sects that don't exactly see eye-to-eye? Imagine if you could eliminate all the tensions between Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians by pointing out that they are essentially the same religion!

Even worse, Friedman occasionally slides into unadulterated America-first jingoism. He often makes the argument that America's core strength lies in its values, not its power or wealth. There's nothing wrong with that statement, but he backs it up with the assertion that most people in the world would immigrate to the US if given the opportunity. Many of them would, and I suppose you could attribute that to their love of American values, principles and freedoms. But consider this: in 2014, after Putin had annexed Crimea and mounted a not-so-secret insurgency into Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, there was a sharp influx in the number of Ukrainians immigrating to Russia. Was that because they were suddenly enamored by Russian values and Putinism? Or is there another, much simpler explanation?

Oh, and for some reason, the book also has a second part –a sort of travel diary that, according to the author, contains extras and outtakes that did not make it into printed columns, but turns out to be an excuse to make the same points (phrased a bit differently) and retell the same anecdotes that you've already read in the first part. I don't think you'd lose anything but not reading it, but it's there. Just so you know.
I was not familiar with Thomas Friedman's New York Times columns. This book contains a sampling of his columns. The book mainly portrays the difference in the Arab vs. the culture of the West. The book opens with the shock of the events of 9/11, considered a tragedy by the West and a cause for celebration for many places in the Arab and Muslim world.

The author goes onto explain the Arab world's rage against America is the result of the idea that America represents, globalization , modernity, plurality. Muslim populations in the middle east are generally ruled by oppressive regimes that are failing their populace, providing a limited world vision, while censoring information. The author made an interesting observation, India has the second largest Muslim population of any country in the world, but the Muslim rage in not present, as the author notes, chanting "death to America" is not the favored occupation of its populace. The reason, India is a democracy, the people are concerned with bettering themselves through government.

And so it goes, The author's main point is that when the Middle East can be democratized, and the poverty alleviated it will be ready to join the modern world.

I really believe Tom Freidman is right on target with the ideas within this book.
Friedman is one of the brightest and best informed columnists of our day, and clear evidence of it can be found in this compilation. Few opinion generators are called to account for past error by readers who are content to merely read current opinion that reinforces what they already believe, but Friedman invites us to do just that by providing us with a stream of his pieces written before and after the awful events of 9/11. Few columnists have as much cause to say "I told you so," or as much grace not to.
I've read every book that Thomas Friedman has written, and they are all exceptional. Friedman seems to meet everybody significant regarding the subject at hand, and has listened with an open mind. He thinks outside the box, and the proposed solutions he comes up make a lot of sense. His reporting is extremely well-balanced and done with great heart. His documentaries on TV are of equal caliber.
Like any of Friedman's writings I found this book to be very informative and timely.
There are some interesting opinion pieces in this book, but overall it's predictable op ed stuff
The author repeats himself and god forbid you loose your place you might have to start at the begining since after a couple of the collums they all sound the same. However, there are some very good ideas and some of the content is worth repeating.
Works as expected. Would buy it again and give it as a gift. The price was right and that is my story.

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