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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars America on the way to become like ...France ?
Luce has written a very interesting and convincing case about America's decline. He examines differents themes that are associated with this situation :
- the vanishing middle class
- education
- Innovation
- Government and politics covers the last three chapters (almost half of the book)

To me, the most alarming issue was innovation,...
Published 23 months ago by Patrick Darmon

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loose, too loose
I heard Edward Luce talk on START THE WEEK on R4. He was lucid, incisive and flustered his American fellow guests. They got defensive and even offensive in trying to repudiate his very telling statistics and anecdotes gleaned from open-eyed research across many States of the Union.

Then I read the book. It reads more like a set of notes that have been joined...
Published 19 months ago by Filmfan


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars America on the way to become like ...France ?, 4 Sep 2012
By 
Patrick Darmon (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Time To Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline (Hardcover)
Luce has written a very interesting and convincing case about America's decline. He examines differents themes that are associated with this situation :
- the vanishing middle class
- education
- Innovation
- Government and politics covers the last three chapters (almost half of the book)

To me, the most alarming issue was innovation, nevertheless the situation is not better with respect to the other topics.

Many books have been written about america's decline - most have been written before it was even a possibility - nevertheless, I feel the topics covered was right on the spot and very well documented. The analysis of the "tea party" movement and washington bureacracy are also very interesting - I believe especially for europeans.

If america's decline is a "lieu commun" for many people, its impacts threaten to be much more significant than the emergence of china, as The Kagan recent - and advised - "the World America Made" makes obvious.

The "olsonian nightmare" is the key explanation that Luce provides : Mancur Olson, the brilliant swedish economist that analysed the effect of vested interests on the economy (in his case, vested interests, were trade-unions in the UK). For Luce, Vested interests are dominating the politics and its inertia seem to be the dominant force ...

The book is not perfect :
- luce point repeatedly to the fact that Chinan invest huge amounts in infrastructure and america is not, as an example of decline but who said they need to invest the same % of GDP. America's infrastructure are far from perfect but China starts from a much lower point
- Also one might have the feeling that when interviewing people, the only question is "what"s bad in here ?" forgetting the "by the way, does anyting work ?" or "is there any good news ?" - but this is a reader's feeling
- Last, and more frighteningly, Luce could have written the same book about UK or France with the same "olsonian nightmare" diagnostic ... Actually, I have wrriten this book some years ago (in French though)

And that might be the unwritten key issue of the book : America is falling but we are already down there with no bottom in sight !

Let's hope that after the "olsonian nightmare" is just a nightmare a we might wake up one day !!!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incisive analysis of a declining power, 8 April 2012
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This review is from: Time To Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline (Hardcover)
Just as elegantly written and easily readable as his book on India, Luce provides here a cohesive, well researched analysis of the key factors that have resulted in the U.S. losing power, influence and prosperity. Luce is both well and broadly connected and open- minded, seemingly without the burden of political agenda that so often makes the lens of other writers within the same realm less incisive.
A must-read also for U.K. citizens, as so many detrimental aspects of poltical/social/financial/educational issues raised in this book equally apply to what is increasingly evident here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loose, too loose, 19 Jan 2013
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I heard Edward Luce talk on START THE WEEK on R4. He was lucid, incisive and flustered his American fellow guests. They got defensive and even offensive in trying to repudiate his very telling statistics and anecdotes gleaned from open-eyed research across many States of the Union.

Then I read the book. It reads more like a set of notes that have been joined together by Blu-Tack or written on a bus on the way to an Undergraduate tutorial. It's repetitive and meanders like a drunk with an idee fixe but no syntax. To say that this is a huge pity is an understatement. To hear Luce talk promised a F.Scott Fitzgerald-like summary of a broken decade. This was broken English and argument interruptus. It feels as if Luce is unsure of when to break from an illustration to a general point or a general argument. It feels as if he might have read some of the great essayists, (English, American or French) and learned how to sharpen his barb and polish his axe. Then, the account could have been devastating and memorably concise. It is the sort of opinion that should be recycled, syllable-perfect, in conversations all around the world because what is going wrong with American democracy and society is what went wrong with Rome in the late Fourth-Century AD and what fell apart there forced the world down a side-turning for about a fifteen-hundred years. Perhaps Mr Luce would like to republish the book in an abbreviated form, as Camille Paglia did with her 'Sexual Personae' as 'Sex and Violence, or Nature and Art'. That was brilliant. That was also extremely useful. Sometimes less is more but only when less is also brilliant. Edward Luce can be. This, longer tour, is not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insights, 16 Nov 2012
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After I heard the author speak on the radio, I ordered this fascinating book immediately, and it lived up to my expectations in every way. The author has used his many insider contacts to create a brilliant insight into the state of the USA today - and it is a depressing, not to say worrying one at that.If you suspect that the USA is in decline it will confirm your fears, and if you know little about their system it will open your eyes. The book is written in a very accessible style - thoroughly recommended as an absorbing read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Insight., 7 July 2012
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Unlike many books about the US, this book comes without an agenda. It is meticulously researched and very imformative. I would urge anybody to read this book, not least, American policy makers themselves.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable and Fascinating, 14 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Time To Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline (Hardcover)
This ia a thought provoking and excellently written book which certainly highlighted new facts for me. The relative powerlessness of the US President was an eye opener as was the major lack of social mobility in the USA. The thematic approach education, government, innovation makes it easy to dip in and out of the work but I completed it in just three sittings finding it enthralling. A few words of caution it does feel that people have been writing off the USA for a long time. It does also make you long for a few more balancing facts. However as a well written polemic it is an excellent book and highly recommmended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 11 May 2014
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Well written by a professional and experienced commentator on the U.S.A. this book sets out a convincing case for the Americans to look critically at their great country.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think!, 20 April 2014
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This review is from: Time To Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline (Hardcover)
Well written and depressingly very illuminating. It paints a worrying picture and unfortunately confirms many of the concerns I have.
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4.0 out of 5 stars interesting, 5 Aug 2013
interesting well researched book,took me a while to get into it but well worth it. america is declining its economics are a mishmash of historic,self serving and big business.one main indicator of wealth the middle class are working for less in houses that are not paid for and are falling in value.big business is over rewarded two thirds of subsidies go to the wealthiest 40 per cent of americans.poor pay for many whilst the ceo of walmart earns more in a month than one of his employees will in a lifetime.american industry is stagnating or is overseas. education especially science and engineering is failing whilst magnificent billionaires try to impose business solutions.and to top it all china is the next new kid on the block.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Time T Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline, 20 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Time To Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline (Hardcover)
An excellent read. The author paints a disturbing picture of the state of American society today and the reasons why it's in this state.
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Time To Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline
Time To Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline by Edward Luce (Hardcover - 3 April 2012)
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