Optimistic accounts of contemporary America are in short supply, but George Friedman has written several. In each of his readable books (most are New York Times bestsellers), he has constructed a compelling case for believing that the United States has some distance to run. That argument is given a historical anchor in his latest release, The Storm Before the Calm. While the main text was written between 2015 and 2019, the addition of a foreword to the Australian edition, written in July 2020, allows him to address COVID-19 and the proof it affords his thesis.
That thesis is captured in the title: America endures stormy weather (riots, depression, war) which inevitably gives way to calm (prosperity, freedom, innovation). It has ever been thus, he argues, and ever will be: if we understand the cycles of US history, we can better grasp the nation’s future. “The current storm,” he writes, “is nothing more than what is normal for this time in America’s history and our lives.”