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Monday, May 12, 2008

Reading List: Decline and Fall

Thornton, Bruce. Decline and Fall. New York: Encounter Books, 2007. ISBN 978-1-59403-206-6.
This slim volume (135 pages of main text, 161 pages in its entirety—the book is erroneously listed on Amazon.com as 300 pages in length) is an epitaph for the postwar European experiment. The author considers Europe, as defined by the post-Christian, post-national “EUtopia” envisioned by proponents of the European Union as already irretrievably failed, facing collapse in the coming decades due to economic sclerosis from bloated and intrusive statist policies, unsustainable welfare state expenditures, a demographic death spiral already beyond recovery, and transformation by a burgeoning Islamic immigrant population which Europeans lack the will to confront and compel to assimilate as a condition of residence. The book is concise, well-argued, and persuasive, but I'm not sure why it is ultimately necessary.

The same issues are discussed at greater length, more deeply, and with abundant documentation in recent books such as Mark Steyn's America Alone (November 2006), Claire Berlinski's Menace in Europe (July 2006), and Bruce Bawer's While Europe Slept (June 2007), all of which are cited as sources in this work. If you're looking for a very brief introduction and overview of Europe's problems, this book provides one, but readers interested in details of the present situation and prospects for the future will be better served by one of the books mentioned above.

A video interview with the author is available.

Posted at May 12, 2008 18:41