american nightmare


Americans seem to want to read about national decline. The more dire the prediction, the more heated the prose, the more colourful the book title, the better. Conservative commentator Mark Steyn’s jeremiad After America: Get Ready for Armageddon made it to number four on the New York Times’s bestseller list. Peter D Kiernan’s Becoming China’s Bitch briefly topped the Amazon chart. On first inspection of Kiernan’s luridly titled work, I assumed it had bubbled up from the wilder fringes of talk-radio. But no, Kiernan was a senior partner at Goldman Sachs for many years. Reading his ravings, I can only conclude that something went badly awry with the bank’s famously rigorous recruitment processes. The book’s title might lead the reader to expect a provocative tract on US-Chinese relations. In fact, this is just one of a huge number of topics that the writer yokes together under the general theme of impending catastrophes that threaten America.

more from Gideon Rachman at the FT here.