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Decline & Fall: Europe’s Slow Motion Suicide Hardcover – November 13, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1594032066 ISBN-10: 1594032068 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; First Edition edition (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594032068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594032066
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,260,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Bruce Thornton's wisdom, nourished by deep reading in the classics, is on ample display in this trenchant analysis of contemporary Europe. From sclerotic economies unable to assimilate burgeoning Islamic populations to a strange fecklessness when it comes to providing for a common defense, Europe seems caught in a historic downward spiral. Thornton shows us why this is happening--and what it means for the United States and the world. -- Brian C. Anderson

In a number of important books and articles, Bruce Thornton has written passionately about Western culture, contemporary society and the current war against radical Islam. Now in Decline and Fall, he combines those literary and historical skills to analyze why Europe has turned its back on a once illustrious Western tradition. The result is not merely a postmortem on the failed European utopian experiment, but also a brilliant mediation itself on the human condition and our dangerous pursuit of heaven on earth. -- Victor Davis Hanson

About the Author

Bruce S. Thornton is the author of Plagues of the Mind: The New Epidemic of False Knowledge; Greek Ways: How the Greeks Invented Western Civilization, and other books. He teaches Classics and humanities at California State University in Fresno.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Jill Malter on December 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I think that Bruce Thornton has made some good points in this book about modern Europe. Early in the book, he uses H. G. Wells' book, "The Time Machine" as an intriguing analogy. Are Europeans becoming more like Wells' "Eloi," and commtting a sort of "slow-motion suicide?"

Politically, Europe is indeed annoying some of us in the United States. As Thornton explains, many Western Europeans were strongly opposed to any action against the Iraq regime of Saddam Hussein. On the other hand, ten Eastern European nations and eight other European nations wrote a letter of solidarity with the United States' intention to remove Hussein from power.

Still, a more genuine concern is not about day-to-day European politics but about Europe's ability to support a healthy and productive society. One fundamental issue is the ability to enforce basic laws and provide for the common defence. And Europe had great difficulty doing that in Bosnia. The EU was helpless here, and so was the UN. Only American troops were any good at stopping the mass murders. Thornton explains that the "Europeans do not have the military capacity to project force in order to stop the threat of brutality and slaughter, which means that they have no threat of force to give teeth to their non-lethal means of resolving conflict."

There is a chapter on the abandonment of the monotheist deity, and I'm not too impressed by that. I am a Polytheist and I think we humans are natural Pagans, given how varied and fickle we are. I'm not too worried about European Christians becoming more tolerant. But I am concerned that, as Thornton describes, we're seeing more intolerance from Europe's Muslims, much of which is accepted by the rest of the community.

Is there a demographic threat to Europe?
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Chapin on May 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Length: 7:41 Mins
Hi Bernard Chapin saying hi and here's a review of Bruce Thornton's new book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ted Haoquan Chu on September 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is worth reading because it provides a profound analysis of Europe's capacity to grow and to play on the global political and economic stage. The author gets it right on many key issues, with the notable exception of its judgment of Marxism. (Hence only 4 stars.)
Forget going-down-the drain image on the cover, which Mr. Thornton himself does not feel comfortable. As an economist, I advise readers not to treat this book as a prophecy of Europe's economic future. Largely ignoring the fact Europe is a complex entity with a vibrant business sector that's exposed to the competitive global markets, the prediction of a permanent economic decline in absolute terms is most likely to be proven wrong. I believe Europe is destined to slowly lose its relative political and economic power while maintaining a comfortable, if increasingly anxiety-filled, standard of living.
That said, Mr. Thornton's central point is correct: the modern European civilization is intellectually and morally bankrupt. Post-war Europe has not found a unifying belief and transcendent value to fill the void left by an abandoned Christianity. Secular humanism offers an illusionary "EUtopia" in complete contrast to what made the West great. By committing to cultural relativism, social welfare entitlement, anti-religion, and anti-Americanism, the continent is committing a "slow motion" suicide. Economically, Europe is destined to increasing irrelevance because of its demographic crisis, social welfare system, and ethnic tensions associated with immigration.
Written largely for an American audience, Mr. Thornton's book is a frontal attack on the romantic notion that Europe represents a progressive future that all advanced nations should emulate.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Flacpl2 on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent antidote for those delusional Americans that somehow maintain the illusion that the solutions for our country's woes (real or imagined) is for America to become "more like Europe." As Dr. Thornton points out, with fact after fact, is that it is of course exactly the opposite. This book is an excellent companion to Mark Steyn's "America Alone" and Bruce Bawer's "While Europe Slept."
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jeri Nevermind VINE VOICE on February 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Thornton argues that it is, and in this short book he explains how Europe found itself in this mess, and then talks about the consequences in the last half of the book.

Europe began the last century with "overwhelming global dominance" (p 27). So how, as Weigel asks, "'did a century that began with confident predictions about a maturing humanity...within four decades have two world wars, three totalitarian systems, a cold war threatening global catastrophe, oceans of blood, mountains of corpses, Auschwitz and the Gulag?'" (p 29).

The rot started even earlier with a growing self-hatred of the Christian civilization that had created the countries of Europe. Nuns and priests were guillotined en masse for loyalty to their religion, while the French army slaughtered some two hundred and fifty thousand of the Vendee, a pro Catholic peasant army.

Instead of worshiping God, man himself was to be the object of worship cried the French revolutionists. So did the Marxists later.

"The loss of Christian faith has exacerbated other tendencies within Western culture that further weaken its response to the challenge of Islamic jihad" (p 74). In the last fifty years, Europe has grown into a soggy welfare state, heavy on taxes and resolute in its determination only to make everyone worship the gods of multiculturalism, homosexuality, feminism, and Mother Earth.

Christians trying to school their children at home in Germany have been fleeing to the UK to avoid having the German state remove their children. The archbishop of the quickly-shrinking-to-the-size-of-a-pea Anglican religion recently suggested the UK should give Sharia law a try.

But leaving God behind has some nasty consequences.
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