Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America’s Fate by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich would probably have been a more interesting book if it had introduced some new ideas. Sadly, it does not. The book is nothing more than a rehashing of the tired ideas that have been floating around in conservative circles for years.
One would think that in 209 pages of text at least one original idea would appear. The book is separated into 13 topical chapters with an introduction and a conclusion. There is an extensive notes section and a surprisingly good index.
The topics cover everything from Education, to Healthcare, to Government and Business and much in between. The essential argument of the book, and one I actually cannot disagree with is that the biggest problem in the US right now is government. Government regulation and intellectual luddites are stifling innovation and holding the country back from making the conceptual leaps and paradigm shift that it is capable of to extend American leadership into the 21st century and beyond.
Speaker Gingrich makes an eloquent argument that over-regulation and political interests are holding the country back. There is no reason for the current economic and societal malaise that we are not inflicting on ourselves. I found especially demining his description of the over-cautious FDA drug and device approval process and the ways in which oil exploration and extraction in the US is being deliberately slowed and even stopped. I share the Speakers concern that there is a large segment of people in America that actively want the country to fail and work to see that it does. I find it equally dismaying that such people even exist. What I don’t share is his optimism that there is a way out of the mess by working within the current system. I hope that he is right and I am wrong.
Regardless, this is a well written book that explains the many issues presented in a rational and non-extremist manner. Speaker Gingrich is a past master at making seemingly complex issues easy to understand, Breakout continues in that tradition and for that reason alone is worth reading. I recommend this book to anyone interested in contemporary politics and the ways in which said politics are stifling progress both societally and technologically.