Friedman's 'Longitudes and Attitudes' is a collection of reportage and reflections before and after September 11th. It is a very moving account, as well as highly informatative. I found it easy to read, due to the short columns and it being different to other texts that are focused on this unbelievable act of terrorism. It helped me understand the confusing madness that went on around this time and why things are why they are today. Friedman writes in a clear style and adds some quite personal memories to his account of the past few years. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the state of the American at the moment and who doesn't fully understand the complications that September 11th brought to the world.
Everybody in the West needs to read this book. And every Arab in the Middle East and wider Muslim world needs to read it as well...twice. (Note to Friedman's publisher; when will there be an Arabic translation of the book?) It is urgent. It is brilliant. It demonstrates a mind fizzing with insight, ideas and frustration. Its lessons need to be absorbed and acted upon in every major capital in the world. Whilst the author is openly Jewish he is by no means an unthinking, Sharon-loving Zionist. He cares as much if not more for the plight of Arab peoples as he does Israel. And his prescriptions are bang on the money for me. Said K. Aburish - who I am also a great admirer of - comes to many of the same conclusions as Friedman from a totally different (Arab/Palestinian) perspective, which says a lot. Please buy this book and read it if you want to understand better the mess the world's in today and what we should all be doing and saying to try to solve its problems. When one of the jacket reviewer's says Friedman is, 'America's best columnist.. period,' he is right, but for one thing. He is the world's best newspaper columnist period.