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The Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0312368708
ISBN-10: 0312368704
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Laqueur, who has four-plus decades of experience writing on Europe's recent and contemporary history, arrives at an essay that seems to be a valediction of his career's geopolitical concern. Viewing Europe's future, he discusses current trends in three areas: the immigration of Muslims, financing of the welfare state, and the European Union. They dominate European political life today, and as Laqueur addresses how these foci of popular and elite attention manifest themselves country by country, the author drives his treatment toward the conclusion that reform is nigh impossible yet unavoidable. Muslim immigrants, he argues, have not been assimilated, don't wish to be, and are profoundly alienated from their host societies. Europe's munificent social-welfare systems don't add up, as Laqueur illustrates with an array of demographic statistics pointing downward and economic numbers pointing sideways. As for the EU, its centralizing aspirations have halted with recent rejections of a constitution and its inability to create a credible military force. Venturing conditional prognostications on these matters, Laqueur delivers a pessimistic assessment. Gilbert Taylor
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"In the midst of our own immigration debate, Americans cannot afford to miss The Last Days of Europe. . . . Laqueur has no tolerance whatever for political correctness, and doesn't mince words. . . . Laqueur's tone may be calm, but his substance is explosive. . . . Bold, subtle, hopeful, piercing, and absolutely terrifying dissection of Europe's prospects. . . . The Last Days of Europe's chilling climax is not to be missed." --The National Review Online
 
"One of the more persuasive in a long line of volumes by authors on both sides of the Atlantic chronicling Europe's decline. . . . Mr. Laqueur's short book is measured, even sympathetic. . . . This temperate quality makes the book's theme--that Europe now faces potentially mortal challenges--all the more compelling."  --The Wall Street Journal
 
"Succinct and clearly written . . . [Laqueur] says it better and with a greater degree of tolerance of nuance . . . Exemplary clarity. . . . Laqueur is neither apocalyptic nor optimistic but measured and open-minded about the future."
--The American Conservative
 
 
"The Last Days of Europe spotlights an uncomfortable reality. Hopefully it will generate greater awareness, more open dialogue, and the courage to take steps to deal with Europe's problems."  
 
--Henry A. Kissinger, former secretary of state and national security adviser
 
 
"An eloquent and eye-opening epitaph for a civilization as much as for a continent--all the more impressive for its depth of historical understanding as well as its illuminating transatlantic perspective. The preeminent historian of postwar Europe has become the prophet of its decline and fall."
 
--Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University, and author of The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West
 
 
"An appraisal of Europe's present and future that reveals Walter Laqueur at his analytical and reflective best. Compelling . . . A marvel of dispassionate analysis."           
 
--James R. Schlesinger, former Director of Central Intelligence and Secretary of Energy and of Defense
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (May 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312368704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312368708
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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135 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAME on May 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
While the European Union is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding as an economic community, The Last Days of Europe joins a long list of books that warns of Europe's decline, like America Alone by Mark Steyn, Menace in Europe by Claire Berlinski, Londonistan by Melanie Phillips, While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer and The Force of Reason by the late Oriana Fallaci.

Laqueur's contribution has a resigned and melancholy feel, unlike some of the aforementioned titles. He analyses the current European identity crisis and the rising xenophobia amongst native Europeans with empathy, observing that the average European family today has fewer than 2 children as opposed to five in the 19th century. This decline of the native birthrate is contemporaneous with massive immigration from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The immigrant populations have high birthrates which increase social tensions since the concept of the melting pot is utterly alien to Europe. Immigrant groups have ghettoized themselves and this hostility to the host countries is breeding violence. Nowhere is this more evident than in Brussels, the seat of the EU bureaucracy.

While the threat of radical Islamism increases, Europeans are in full appeasement mode.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Walter Laquer has been writing histories of Europe for a long time. He is, in fact, 86 and has written 20 or more books. "The Last Days of Europe" is an assessment of Europe now and through the remainder of the 21st Century.

Essentially Laquer suggests that Europe will become a gigantic museum with Muslims as the ticket takers. Ethnic English, French, Germans, Russians, all Europeans aren't reproducing at a rate sufficient to replenish their stocks while Muslim immigrants are not only outbreeding Europeans, but failing to integrate. The result? A largely Islamicized Europe. He is far from alone in this view. Other authors, notably Mark Steyn (America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It), Melanie Phillips (Londonistan), Bruce Bawer (While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within) and Claire Berlinski (Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis Is America's, Too) have written of a changing Europe, each from their own perspctive. Most notable is the late Orianna Fallaci's (The Force of Reason), written as she was dying and filled with fiery passion.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on July 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Some pundits still proclaim that "the twenty-first century will be Europe's" (p 15).

Certainly, Europe did have an almost miraculous recovery after World War II. And uniting their countries under a common currency should be beneficial.

But all along, like a dark cloud gathering on the horizon, there have been indications that things are going seriously wrong in Europe. And chief among the problems is the decline in population. For example, "Italy counts some 57 million inhabitants at present; this is expected to shrink to 37 million at mid-century and to 15 million by 2100" (p 24-5).

The population decline is so vast it hardly seems believable. Tiny, poor Yemen will surpass Russia in population by 2050, if UN statistic projections are to be believed. Currently, Russia experiences more abortions than births. The population decline is further aggravated by a decline in mortality, caused partly by rampant alcoholism.

Two other problems are associated with the decline in population. The first is that "by 2050 one-third of the population of Europe will be sixty-five or older" (p 127). In other words, Europe will be one large daycare center for the elderly. There will be an enormous growth in health expenditures by each government, in social services and welfare benefits.

But where will the money to pay for this come from? From its tiny population? And, moreover, a population that doesn't seem to like work? Already, Germans work less than workers in any other country. The welfare state was sustainable only in a growing economy. How can you have a growing economy with few workers and a huge payout to the elderly? And yet how can you take away welfare benefits to people who need them, and, moreover, have grown to expect them?
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