Longitudes and Attitudes


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Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism
by Thomas L. Friedman

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This is the paperback edition. The hardcover is also available.

Book Description

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times columnist and bestselling author of From Beirut to Jerusalem and The Lexus and the Olive Tree comes this smart, penetrating, brilliantly informed book that is indispensable for understanding today’s radically new world and America’s complex place in it.

Thomas L. Freidman received his third Pulitzer Prize in 2002 “for his clarity of vision, based on extensive reporting, in commenting on the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat.” In Longitudes and Attitudes he gives us all of the columns he has published about the most momentous news story of our time, as well as a diary of his private experiences and reflections during his post–September 11 travels. Updated for this new paperback edition, with over two years’ worth of Friedman’s columns and an expanded version of his diary, Longitudes and Attitudes is a broadly influential work from our most trusted observer of the international scene.

From the Back Cover
“A writer with the ability to make you think. . . . Few express better the sheer perplexity of Americans today.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Eminently worth reading. . . . More than the reporting—often brilliant—and more than the access to insiders, it is [Friedman’s] ability to see a few big truths steadily and whole that makes him the most important columnist in America today.” —The New York Times

“For historical context, both before and after September 11, I can’t think of a more useful and informative book.” —Susan Larson, The Times-Picayune

“A valuable work. . . . Few writers have a better grasp than Thomas L. Friedman of the dimensions of America’s war on terrorism. . . . He is a brilliant reporter [who] has revolutionized foreign-affairs punditry.” —The Baltimore Sun

“A writer with the ability to make you think. . . . Few express better the sheer perplexity of Americans today.” –The New York Times Book Review

“For historical context, both before and after September 11, I can’t think of a more useful and informative book.” –Susan Larson, The Times-Picayune

“A valuable work. . . . Few writers have a better grasp than Thomas L. Friedman of the dimensions of America’s war on terrorism. . . . He is a brilliant reporter [who] has revolutionized foreign-affairs punditry.” –The Baltimore Sun

“Eminently worth reading. . . . It is Friedman’s ability to see a few big truths steadily and whole that makes him the most important columnist in America today.” –Walter Russell Mead, The New York Times

“Top-notch. . . . Well-researched, original thinking.” –USA Today

“Illuminating. . . . Eye-opening.” –The Houston Chronicle

“Enormously valuable. . . . Passionate . . . informed.” –San Jose Mercury News

“Essential reading for anyone keeping track of world events. . . . Eminently helpful in understanding the great divide yawning between the Western and Arab worlds.” –Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A readable guide to the issues and arguments facing American policymakers.” –The Economist

“An invaluable reporter’s perspective on the world from outside U.S. borders. . . . Lucid . . . exceptionally frank and convincing . . . insightful.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Fascinating reading. . . . Shockingly clear and prescient. . . . Probably no one else–journalist or diplomat–has pursued the complex threads of this story as relentlessly as Friedman.” –BookPage

“When the world changed last September, it was Friedman, more than any other journalist, who was there to explain what happened and why. . . . To read [Longitudes and Attitudes] is to relive an anguishing year in world history but also to witness a more human-size drama: Through these dispatches, you see a man trying to explain the unthinkable not only to his readers but to himself.” –Rolling Stone

“Insightful . . . a good example of why he won [three Pulitzer Prizes]. . . . Reading Friedman at any time is a delight.” –Wisconsin State Journal

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
"History just took a right turn into a blind alley," comments the New York Times columnist in his latest book, "and something very dear has just been taken away from us."

Tackling this observation from many different angles, this lucid book, consisting of Friedman's exceptionally frank and convincing columns and an insightful post-September 11 diary, prods at the questions surrounding that day and offers an invaluable reporter's perspective on the world from outside U.S. borders. The columns, which are the bulk of the book, represent a comprehensive album of the past two years ranging from the usefulness of building a missile shield to analyzing the structure of Arab societies yet they rarely stray from the central theme of promoting thoughtful and measured consideration of the U.S.' role in the world. However, the previously unpublished diary offers the most insight to the state of the world after September 11. Stranded in Israel during the attacks, Friedman ended up traveling throughout the Middle East, discovering how the terrorist attacks affected the region and uncovering many of the roots of anti-American sentiment, which he aptly describes alongside his reflections on watching his daughter's multicultural middle-school chorus sing "God Bless America." Unapologetically pro-American, Friedman's deliberation on what changed on September 11 outside of the U.S. ultimately centers on the strength of American society and our place in the world.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --

From Library Journal
Foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, Friedman gathers pieces for what he calls a "word album" of recent events.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --

From AudioFile
We hear a drumroll, a chorus of trumpets, and then the TIMES foreign affairs columnist reading his pieces about "the biggest single news story in my life." Op ed pieces surrounding the tragedy of September 11 are stitched together with equally lively diary entries. Friedman has a deep, clear voice, which perfectly complements his highly accessible prose. You also know where to add salt. You can hear the glee of a reporter with a big job, as when he quotes this e-mail: "Saudi women need your pen, Mr. Friedman. I read your articles, and they are so powerful and so true." I wouldn't put it that baldly. Nor would I miss this book. B.H.C. © AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist
This is a repackaging of Friedman's New York Times columns from September 2001 through June 2002, with a lengthy postscript describing Friedman's travels and interviews throughout this period. The one article in this batch likely to draw the most attention is his February 17, 2002, column in which the heir to the Saudi Arabian throne proposed a land-for-peace resolution, premised on Israel's 1967 borders. Whatever its merits--and it predictably foundered in the real world's storm of Islamic terrorists and certain governments vowing the utter destruction of Israel and Jews--Friedman learned significant things in conversation with the Saudi ruler, educated Saudis, and others in the Muslim world. He recounts their doubts that the September 11 terrorists were Saudi grown, their proclivity for bizarre conspiracy-thinking (anti-Semitic, of course) to explain or even justify the atrocity, and numberless complaints about America. With these disquieting attitudes discussed from the lectern, Friedman's 16-city promotional tour will undoubtedly be an animated and heated one. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review
"This lucid book, consisting of Friedman's exceptionally frank and convincing columns and an insightful post-September 11 diary, prods at the questions surrounding that day and offers an invaluable reporter's perspective on the world from outside U.S. borders. The previously unpublished diary offers the most insight to the state of the world after September 11."
--Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Thomas L. Friedman has won the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work at The New York Times. He is the author of two other bestselling books, From Beirut to Jerusalem, winner of the National Book Award, and The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his family.

Excerpt from Chapter 1 - this is copyrighted material

Before:

December 15, 2000-September 11, 2001

* * *

Medal of Honor

* * *

When Al Gore was in Vietnam he never saw much combat. Throughout his presidential campaign, though, he insisted he wanted to "fight" for every American. Well, Wednesday night, in his concession speech, Mr. Gore took a bullet for the country.

The shot was fired at the heart of the nation by the five conservative justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, with their politically inspired ruling that installed George W. Bush as President. The five justices essentially said that it was more important that Florida meet its self-imposed deadline of December 12 for choosing a slate of electors than for the Florida Supreme Court to try to come up with a fair and uniform way to ensure that every possible vote in Florida was counted--and still meet the real federal deadline, for the nationwide Electoral College vote on December 18. The five conservative justices essentially ruled that the sanctity of dates, even meaningless ones, mattered more than the sanctity of votes, even meaningful ones.

The Rehnquist Court now has its legacy: "In calendars we trust." You don't need an inside source to realize that the five conservative justices were acting as the last in a team of Republican Party elders who helped drag Governor Bush across the finish line. You just needed to read the withering dissents of Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, and Stevens, who told the country exactly what their five colleagues were up to--acting without legal principle or logic and thereby inflicting a wound, said Justice Breyer, "that may harm not just the Court, but the nation."

Or, as the Harvard moral philosopher Michael Sandel put it: "Not only did the Court fail to produce any compelling argument of principle to justify its ruling. But, on top of that, the conservative majority contradicted its long-held insistence on protecting states' rights against federal interference. That's why this ruling looks more like partisanship than principle. And that's why many will conclude that the five conservative justices voted twice for President--once in November and once in December."

Which brings us back to Mr. Gore and his concession speech. It was the equivalent of taking a bullet for the country, because the rule of law is most reinforced when--even though it may have been imposed wrongly or with bias--the recipient of the judgment accepts it, and the system behind it, as final and legitimate. Only in that way--only when we reaffirm our fidelity to the legal system, even though it rules against us--can the system endure, improve, and learn from its mistakes. And that was exactly what Mr. Gore understood, bowing out with grace because, as he put it, "this is America, and we put country before party."

If Chinese or Russian spies are looking for the most valuable secret they can steal in Washington, here's a free tip: Steal Al Gore's speech. For in a few brief pages it contains the real secret to America's sauce.

That secret is not Wall Street, and it's not Silicon Valley, it's not the Air Force and it's not the Navy, it's not the free press and it's not the free market--it is the enduring rule of law and the institutions that underlie them all, and that allow each to flourish no matter who is in power.

One can only hope that Mr. Bush also understands that the ultimate strength of America and the impact it has on the world does not come from all the military systems he plans to expand (though they too are important), or from Intel's latest microchip. It comes from this remarkable system of laws and institutions we have inherited--a system, they say, that was designed by geniuses so it could be run by idiots.

Mr. Bush will soon discover that preserving this system is critical not only for America, it is critical for the world. America today is the Michael Jordan of geopolitics. Many envy the institutions and economy that ensure our dominance; others deeply resent us for the same. But all are watching our example--and all understand, at some level, that the stability of the world today rests on the ability of our system and economy to endure.

Al Gore reinforced that system by his graceful concession; Mr. Bush will have to reinforce it by his presidency. Now that the campaign is over and the system has determined the winner, no one should root for his failure. Because, as Al Gore would say, "this is America," and it's the only one we've got.

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