Books: The Flat Earth Policy

A provocative opinion maker suggests the world is becoming a smaller, safer place

Thomas Friedman can be hard to take. Readers of his foreign-affairs column in the New York Times have come to tolerate Friedman's annoyingly omniscient, conspicuously corny style because of his flair for addressing dizzying global conundrums with common sense. But Friedman's bravado has been sapped by Iraq: his attempts to distance himself from the Bush Administration's handling of a war he supported has forced him into some painful intellectual contortions.

It's a relief, then, to find little mention of Iraq in Friedman's new book, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 488 pages)....