A stirring examination of global competition and power in the twentieth century What can we learn from the events of twentieth century? With the effects of the Cold War still evident in the global economy and the lives of everyday Americans, master journalist and historian David Halberstam sets out to answer this question. Halberstam's perceptive The Next Century looks to the future by examining the past. From the rise of the Japanese economy to the startling changes that reshaped the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Halberstam argues that the American economy's survival depends on the rededication and continued education of the American worker. As pertinent in today's economy as it was when first published in 1991, The Next Century is a timeless call to arms, reminding us that we must continually better ourselves in order to compete on the world stage. This ebook features an extended biography of David Halberstam.
I'm still a novice Halberstam follower, having only read his Bill Belichick study, "Education of a Coach". In my short time reading Mr. Halberstam, I've decided that he is a gentle man who writes as if he were telling stories to his grandchildren. He never comes off accusative, bitter, or condescending, but rather relays the information and knowledge he has gained in a helpful, affable manner. This makes for an enjoyable read, one in which the reader doesn't feel the obligation to take on any form, "act", or pretense. David allows the reader to imbibe the information unobstructed from any celebrity.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable read for me- partly due to the fact that I'm only 28 years old and have little experience with the scenarios laid out in the book. This book is in no way a replacement for an education in the history of the last 100 years, but it does boil down a few situations to their pertinence to current events and times.
The other reason I enjoyed this book so much was due to the correctness of Mr. Halberstam's insight. He seemed to predict much of the way the 90's and 00's have unfolded- not necessarily with exact measure but with enough precision that it lent credence to the book and his experiences.
I can't help but think if more people had read this or been taught these lessons that we as a society would be better off. Halberstam conveys displeasure with the way American education is being handled in the late 20th century, which seems fitting in this day and age where education is a hot topic in political debates and public discussion. He also describes the trade imbalance between Japan and the U.S. as if he were standing here in 2007 witnessing what he writes of. In fact, the trade imbalance for the U.S can be seen with almost all of its trade partners- more incoming than is outgoing. We are becoming more and more beholden to other nations as far as debt (China) is concerned, as well as importing more goods than we export.
He's writing this book in a pre-globalized (or early globalized) world, but Mr. Halberstam is unknowingly writing of a globalized world. The scenarios laid out here describe the influence a globalized world has on the U.S- from the medias effect in Communist Soviet Union, to the characterization of and fissures in the educational systems here in America as contrasted with Japan and Korea, to the juxtaposition of the political/ cultural/ economic systems in Japan and the U.S. There's also many correlations to the Vietnam fiasco and the leadership of our "empire" that can be paralleled to today's experiences in Iraq/ Iran/ Afghanistan.
In many ways, Mr. Halberstam displays how truly prescient he was in the 80's. Many of his suppositions and guesses have come to fruition, which speaks to the validity of this book as a whole.
It's unfortunate that David Halberstam will not be afforded the luxury of seeing his prognostications and insight into "The Next Century" come true. I sense that he could have become the change we wish to see in this world- at least from a journalistic point of view.
I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about our current society's relationship to our most recent past. Mr. Halberstam writes of many things currently being discussed in books such as "The World is Flat" and "Democracy Matters", which to me is a wonderful realization that this book was well before it's time!
He has a lot to say about Japan. This was a time when many pundits were predicting that Japan was going to eat America's lunch.