cover image The Next Century

The Next Century

David Halberstam / Author William Morrow & Co Inc $16.95 (126p

In a timely wake-up call to a comatose, overindulged America, Halberstam ( The Best and the Brightest ) digs for root causes of the national failure to adapt to a more Spartan, more competitive age. Living in an ``energy dreamworld'' and addicted to oil, Americans foolhardily failed to tax themselves at the gasoline pump in 1973 and '79 in response to rising oil prices, he notes. Calling the Reagan years of escalating military budgets ``capitalism gone mad'' and deeming Bush ``the education President'' in name only, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist contrasts our high-consumption, debt-ridden economy wth Japan's thrifty, pragmatic experiment in ``state-guided communal capitalism.'' His recent trips to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe yield bracing observations on the unraveling of the Soviet empire and the wasteful folly of the Cold War. The thrust of this informal mix of personal and political reflections is that Americans should stop living beyond their means and scale down their inflated view of the U.S. role in the world. Author tour. (Feb.)