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Thomas Friedman, columnist for the New York Times, author of six books, has won three Pulitzer Prizes. He has President Obama's ear on the Middle East, and in America you don't get more expert than that.
Friedman grew up in the American Midwest in the 1960s. It was a time when America was sure of itself and Americans were sure of what they stood for. That confidence set the United States on a decades-long domination of the world in science, technology, music, and literature.
Friedman says the Cold War with the old Soviet Union spurred his nation to action. He says American power didn't mean simply showing the country was strong, it also meant showing American society was better than all others. In those days, America was a country with a national story of success...
But in his book "That Used To Be Us," Thomas Friedman says America today is a far lesser version of its old, stronger self.
As a columnist at the New York Times, he's made a career of talking to Americans about the issues that affect them and what he sees is an America in a state of decline. The nation has lost its vision and it's faced with challenges like debt, partisan politics, and a tanking economy. But Friedman also says there's hope, one that lies in reimagining what a nation can be.
His book is a manifesto -- a call to action for a new and better America.