Review: Between Worlds–The Making of an American Life (Hardcover)

4 Star, Biography & Memoirs

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing–shallower than anticipated,

January 5, 2006
Bill Richardson
I am a Hispanic on my mother’s side, completely disdainful of both the Republican and the Democratic parties for having “sold out” to special interests and betrayed the public trust, and actively interested in “alternative candidates” that might make the leap from being a captive of the machine to being a true representative of the people.

Bill Richardson is undeniably attractive to both Hispanics and to Native Americans, and he moves easily and ably in the Anglo world of energy and environmental politics. As a former UN Ambassador and as a former Secretary of Energy I bought this book eagerly anticipating a “roadmap” for what the author calls the “New Progressivism.”

This is not such a roadmap. While I respect the author very much, this book reads more like a dictated and then ghost-edited “formula” book. It communicates absolutely no sense of the over-all challenges facing America and the world, not even in the energy arena. “Peak Oil” is not mentioned in this book, and neither are alternative sources of energy. Global poverty and disease and water scarcity are not mentioned in this book.

While the author does discuss predatory lending in his own state, something he commendably seeks to stop, he seems to have no sense of the global impact of immoral predatory capitalism.

While the author is clearly an exceptional negotiator able to charm dictators, and he provides several admirable stories to support this view, he does not seem to grasp that our foreign policy is “gutted” by our continuing support for 44 dictators.

There are some gems in here, for instance when he notes that Madeline Albright slammed the door shut on the Iranians when they were seeking rapprochement with the US through UN channels.

While the author does not stress the point, he does seem to champion an end to the embargo on Cuba, and a re-opening of a full relationship that should inevitably profit both countries. Perhaps his Mexican heritage has ensured that he heard the Mexican President when he refused to duplicate the US embargo, with the famous words “if I were to say that Cuba was a threat to our national security, 40 million Mexicans would die laughing.”

I have plenty of underlining throughout the book, and it was sufficient to warrant my full attention over two flights in and out of Tampa, but I put the book down thinking to myself that the book was a tease, not the main event.

The author says that he has produced over 30 major policy studies for his New Mexican governorship, and I believe it. I’d like to see a serious book by this man, one that addresses the key issues facing America across every Cabinet department, and ends with a chapter on ends and means. To his credit, he is a strong champion of a balance budget.

Nice guy–clearly a strong candidate for Secretary of State. It is not at all clear from this book that he is ready to run for President.

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