Langewiesche is one of the best aviation writers around but I am not alone in thinking this was less than his best effort. In particular, many of us think he was way too easy on the flaws in the Airbus cockpit design, specifically the absence of an angle of attack indicator (just ask any Navy pilot of your acquaintance what they think about doing without that.)
The excessive level of automation led to a system where the robot delivered a conclusion (STALL!) without giving the pilot the basic flight parameter (AoA) which led it to conclude that. This forced the pilot to, in effect, play “twenty questions” with the system: “if I do this, does it go away?” “OK, that didn’t work, how about this?” “Are you really sure we’re in a stall?” and so forth. You can’t cross-correlate instruments if one of them is missing. No wonder the poor guys got confused.
This, and other shortcomings of the Airbus system (sidestick and throttle logic) are why I hate to fly on the things. I can never go to sleep on one, whereas I climb on a Southwest 737 (whose crew does more landings and takeoff a day than other airline pilots do in a month) I zonk out as soon as the wheels are up. Makes me, like most of us, a walking example of actual vs. perceived risk