Review by Booklist Review
Friedman, author and founder of a forecasting company, sets out to provide a sense of the twenty-first century. He is confident that rather than being on the verge of decline, the U.S. has actually just begun its ascent and will be the center of power. This is a book about unintended consequences and how the constraints of time and place impact the behavior of individuals and nations and offer a view of future events. With many unknowns and acknowledging potential for error, Friedman carefully explains his position on the ultimate collapse of Russia, our next opponent after the Islamic conflicts, and he evaluates China and concludes it will not become a major threat. He provides thoughtful rationale for Japan, Turkey, and Poland to emerge as great powers, and his theories are fascinating on a confrontation between the U.S. and Mexico, a major economic force at the end of the century. This is an excellent book and will intrigue many library patrons.--Whaley, Mary Copyright 2009 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
With a unique combination of cold-eyed realism and boldly confident fortune-telling, Friedman (America's Secret War) offers a global tour of war and peace in the upcoming century. The author asserts that "the United States' power is so extraordinarily overwhelming" that it will dominate the coming century, brushing aside Islamic terrorist threats now, overcoming a resurgent Russia in the 2010s and '20s and eventually gaining influence over space-based missile systems that Friedman names "battle stars." Friedman is the founder of Stratfor, an independent geopolitical forecasting company, and his authoritative-sounding predictions are based on such factors as natural resources and population cycles. While these concrete measures lend his short-term forecasts credence, the later years of Friedman's 100-year cycle will provoke some serious eyebrow raising. The armed border clashes between Mexico and the United States in the 2080s seem relatively plausible, but the space war pitting Japan and Turkey against the United States and allies, prognosticated to begin precisely on Thanksgiving Day 2050, reads as fantastic (and terrifying) science fiction. Whether all of the visions in Friedman's crystal ball actually materialize, they certainly make for engrossing entertainment. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Futurologist Friedman (America's Secret War, 2004, etc.) entertainingly explains how America will bestride the world during this century. Prophecy, whether by astrologers, science-fiction writers or geopoliticians, has a dismal track record, but readers will enjoy this steady stream of clever historical analogies, economic analyses and startling demographic data. He dismisses America's obsession with the war on terrorism. Al-Qaeda, he explains, aims to recreate a united, Ottoman-like Islamic empire. To thwart this, the United States has merely to sustain the present disunity of Muslim nations. Win or lose, when we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan over the next decade, the region will remain satisfyingly chaotic, and America can turn its attention elsewhere. There will be plenty to occupy us. Our leading economic rival, China, will implode, its dazzling growth ending in a crash just as Japan's did in the 1990s. But while Japan's stable society has endured during nearly 20 years of economic depression, China's rigid leadership and fractious regionalism cannot tolerate such stress, and the nation will fragment. A reviving Russia will try to reestablish defensible borders in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, but shrinking population and reliance on natural resources for wealth doom it to failure and collapse. Japan, Turkey and Poland will fill the vacuum. For these predictions, Friedman relies heavily on a trend that will jolt most readers. The population explosion is ending, he writes; after 2050 advanced nations will need massive immigration to fill jobs and support their aging citizenry. This will provide another boost for America, which has always been friendlier to immigrants than Europe or Japan. Also, Mexico will become a great power. Few readers will buy all the prognostications, but most will agree that the author makes a reasonable case, backed with vast knowledge of geopolitics delivered in accessible prose. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.