cover image The Reckoning: The Challenge to America's Greatness

The Reckoning: The Challenge to America's Greatness

David Halberstam. William Morrow & Company, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-04838-9

Powerfully developing his thesis that the complacency and shortsightedness of American workers and their bosses, especially the automakers of Detroit, have led to a decline of industrial know-how so critical that Asian carmakers, particularly the Japanese, have virtually taken over the market, Halberstam tells in panoramic detail a story that is alarming in its implications. Immediately ahead lies a harsh scenario that will see America's standards of living fall appreciablyonly sacrifices will restore our ""greatness.'' This lengthy book with its skilled, dramatic interweaving of two little-known storiesthe inside struggles of the Ford organization (including the firing of Lee Iacocca) in the 1970s and the growth of the Japanese automotive industry, notably Nissan, since the 1950scompletes the trilogy Halberstam began with The Best and the Brightest and The Powers That Be. Here is fresh and crucially meaningful material researched with notable thoroughness, replete with graphic portraits of top American and Japanese industrialists competing blindly on the one hand and with brilliant cunning on the other. The book is among the most absorbing of recent years, every page contributing to the breathtaking picture of an America that is going to learn to retool or else. 200,000 first printing. (October 15)