For the last two years I have been working on writing a book about my experience as a first generation (Dutch) immigrant to the United States. After multiple edits, with the help of some of the best minds I have encountered during my journey through life, I have published my book through CreateSpace, a division of amazon.com.
It can be ordered online in the USA and Europe, using the appropriate link shown below:
The book is titled NEITHER HERE NOR THERE and sub-titled A First Generation Immigrant in Search of American Exceptionalism.
I wrote the book, because I like to write and I had freed up my time by retiring from the corporate world where I had spent all of my professional career. But there is more to this story. For the more than 30 years that I have been working and living in the United States, I have kept wondering if I had made the right decision when, in 1983, I turned from being a Dutch ex-patriate living in the U.S. to an immigrant. I never quit looking for a validation of that decision. And, because of that mind-set, I became a keen observer of American lifestyles and politics.
I knew that America had been exceptional at the time of the creation of the Republic, in the struggle to hold the Republic together through the War Between the States, and in the conquering of fascism first and then communism. I was looking for evidence that America had the capacity and vitality to remain exceptional at times that it was not seriously challenged by contenders.
In my book, I lean upon not only my own observations, but substantially also on the writings of other analysts of the great American experiment. The book is different from other social and political commentary in that it deals not just with specific individual shortcomings but, comprehensively, with all the major flaws in the American system as it operates today and in that it actually offers solutions for the many predicaments the nation is facing. It is also different in that it is written from the perspective of someone, not born in this country, but who made a conscious choice to make America his country and now wants to validate that decision.
NEITHER HERE NOR THERE delivers five key messages:
- I made a deliberate decision, in the early eighties, to transplant my family from the Netherlands to the USA, based on my evaluation—at the time—of the future of America versus the future of Western Europe. It seemed an easy choice. But the world has changed dramatically in the intervening 30 years and it seems appropriate to revalidate that choice.
- There is a broad consensus that the generation now growing up in America may be the first since the Second World War to be worse off than their parents and grandparents. If that is indeed the case, then we need to get at the cause of that decline. And come up with ways to turn it around.
- A huge gap exists in America between the performances of the public sector versus the private sector. The private sector embraces change and accelerates the pace of change by constant innovation, driven by competition and a passion for continuous improvement and breakthrough technology. None of this exists in the public domain.
- America has too many people standing at the sidelines rather than playing the field. Nations are successful when they engage the whole population—with hardly anybody left out—behind a clearly articulated vision for the future place of the nation in the global environment.
- A vision is merely that—a fata morgana—if it is not accompanied by a solid strategy outlining how to reach the desired outcome. America is lacking a national strategy. American governance has no tradition or statute for the creation of a binding strategic plan that is built on broad consensus and transcends the succession of White House occupants and the shifting balance of power between the Republican and Democratic parties. That may have to change.
My intent with the book is to create a badly needed discourse about what’s ailing America and what cures should be considered to bring it back to optimum health.
Follow me on Twitter @FransJager1 for updates on the publication of NEITHER HERE NOR THERE.