If you're a political buff like I am, odds are that you'll find Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaums' new book That Used To Be Us to be an interesting read. Yet the truth is that everyone - even those who don't follow geopolitics closely - can learn from this book about the decline of American greatness. While many such nonfiction books are written in a fairly light and digestible package, this book leans toward the slightly academic end of the spectrum.
Some might say that we, the readers, already know how bad things are, but the book delves more deeply than cable news or the average newspaper into the causes of America's current problems and does its best to offer optimism for the future, even if it's cautiously optimistic. In fact, the authors refer to themselves as "frustrated optimists."
Part of the frustration in the state of things that the authors describe derives from the two-party political system, as the authors explain that the policies we need involve far more substantial changes than the Democrats or Republicans are currently proposing. Of course, that's a tall order that may take years to execute.