A wide-ranging critique of American exceptionalism.
Veteran nonfiction author Glass (The Power of Faith, 2010, etc.) makes his first foray into politics as the latest commentator to chart the course of America’s decline over the last several decades. He argues that America is no longer, by any metric, the strongest or most exceptional country in the world. Glass suggests that this will have drastic effects on the country’s future, manifested by a decline in the standard of living. The author singles out familiar targets upon which to lay the blame: the media, politicians and Wall Street. He goes on to trace his thesis across a range of cultural and political issues, from the war on drugs to the scholarship system for college athletes. The author’s focus is omnivorous and he does an admirable job of drawing on disparate sources and subjects to argue his case. Paradoxically, the book’s strength is also its most glaring weakness; Glass is not, nor does he claim to be, an expert in any of the subjects he details. This lack of authority combined with his liberal use of slang, oddball logic and subjective ranting weakens many of his best arguments, while the dearth of references calls into question the accuracy of his facts. But even as Glass struggles to make an especially convincing argument, his very lack of credentials turns this into a fascinating profile of the anger and frustration felt by the average American. Readers will recognize the forehead-slapping indignation of the common man that Glass channels to great effect. This title, in the end, becomes less about policy prescriptions and more about the confusion and frustration felt by those who observe the world through a 24-hour news cycle.
This potent manifesto may not spark a revolution, but it will get readers thinking.