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The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy Hardcover – November 4, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press; 1st edition (November 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594200335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594200335
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,141,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

While the United States flexes its economic and military muscles around the world as the dominant global player, it may soon have company. According to the Washington Post's T.R. Reid, the nations of Europe are setting aside differences to form an entity that's gaining strength, all seemingly unbeknownst to the U.S. and its citizens. The new Europe, Reid says, "has more people, more wealth, and more trade than the United States of America," plus more leverage gained through membership in international organizations and generous foreign aid policies that reap political clout. Reid tells how European countries were willing to discontinue their individual centuries-old currencies and adopt the Euro, the monetary unit that is now a dominant force in world markets. This is noteworthy not just for exploring the considerable economic impact of the Euro, but also for what that spirit of cooperation means for every facet of Europe in the 21st century, where governments and citizens alike believe that the rewards of banding together are worth a loss in sovereignty. Reid's most compelling portrait of this trend is in the young Europeans known as "Generation E" who see themselves not as Spaniards or Czechs but simply as Europeans. To illustrate America's obliviousness to this trend, Reid tells of former GE CEO Jack Welch, who never bothered to factor European objections into a proposed multi-billion dollar merger with Honeywell, leading to the deal being torpedoed and Welch disgraced. But what is most striking in The United States of Europe is the contrast between the new Europe and the United States. The Europeans cannot match the raw military size of the U.S., but by mixing wealth with diplomacy and continental unity (helped along by antipathy toward George W. Bush's brand of Americanism), they are forming an innovative and powerful superpower. --John Moe

From Publishers Weekly

While "old Europe" is most often portrayed as more bark than bite in its differences with the current U.S. administration, NPR commentator and former Washington Post European bureau chief Reid finds the E.U. as a whole "determined to change a world that has been dominated by Americans." The opening chapters quickly summarize everyday Europeans’ love-hate relationship with the States, the legacies of the 20th-century wars, and the creation of the Euro. The center chapters present GE as a case study in transatlantic trade gone wrong ("Welch’s Waterloo") as well as other snafus that show Europe attempting to dominate market share of everything from cell phones to pharmaceuticals. A chapter detailing what’s left of Europe’s welfare states is followed by a relatively bleak assessment of Europe’s armies, and the spin that the E.U. is betting on economic "soft power" for eventual global dominance. The concluding chapters warn that the U.S. ignores Europe’s new 25-nation strong union at its economic and political peril, but also draw attention to Europe as a huge, tariff-free market and potential sharer of global burdens. There’s little surprising here, but Reid’s primer on recent U.S. European relations genially summarizes an evolving, if often reluctant, partnership.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

T. R. Reid is a longtime correspondent for The Washington Post and former chief of its Tokyo and London bureaus as well as a commentator for National Public Radio. His books include The United States of Europe, The Chip, and Confucius Lives Next Door.

Customer Reviews

TR Reid's The United States of Europe is a quick, engaging read and an excellent introductory primer on the European Union.
Lee Biernbaum
To quote Jack Welch from the book, those in the U.S. might not like everything in this volume, but "This really is just the way the world works now."
Robert Moore
While Reid does offer statistics to support many of his arguments, I believe that he also offers too many ancedotal examples.
M. S. Feldman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Over the past decade I have, like many Americans, been aware of many of the changes that have been taking place in Europe, but unfortunately also like most Americans I have been completely unaware of the magnitude, extent and nature of the changes taken there. Reid's thesis is that the European Union, which could be the fulfillment of Winston Churchill's vision of a United States of Europe, could be poised to become a world superpower to equal or surpass the United States of America. Although Reid does not put it quite this way, if the 20th Century was the American Century, the 21st Century could well be the European Century.

Under any consideration, the situation that Reid describes in the European Union that is extremely impressive. In the decades following the destruction of the Second World War, the Europeans have crafted a loosely unified state that has created the world's largest trading bloc, the world's strongest currency, one of the world's largest populations, one of the world's greatest manufacturing bases, and a model network of social structures. As an American, I have long been used to the idea that the United States takes the lead on many of the world's advances, whether economic, political, or moral, but upon reading this book I wonder if we might be lagging rather far behind what is being done in Europe. But it is Europe and not the United States that is planning a trip to visit Mars. It is Europe that is setting the world's standards for safety. It is Europe that has taken the international lead on human rights issues, and has taken the United States to task for a variety of shortcomings in the area, in particular on capital punishment.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By M. Gallagher on January 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Having lived and worked (teaching business and business consulting) in Europe for over six years, I believe that Reid's book presents an important perspective that many Americans need to be exposed to, if not understand.

-Very readable (a quick read)
-Timely information (for the most part)
-Presents a good balance for most readers between "too much" and "not enough" background (e.g. Marshall Plan, Jack Welch, etc.)
-Good presentation of the emerging "E" generation (maybe most important aspect of book)
-Good introduction to the emergence of globalization (esp. EU countries' investments in US)
-Good introduction to current European social trends
-Although difficult to swallow, good presentation of growing negative view of US (at least certain aspects) by many Europeans

-Reid at times is a bit too enamored with modern European socialism (Although exposure is one that many American's can learn from)
-What he doesn't present are the negative feelings and consequences Europeans are experiencing as a result (of socialism)
-Some of the data doesn't exactly agree with recent data, however, trends in general are accurate
-Country by country analysis at end is a bit superficial (Probably would take another book to really do good job)
-Newly added EU countries present new challenges that are significant and not addressed in book

OVERALL: RECOMENDED. Should be required reading (along with others) for anyone entering the future (globalized) job market or business ownership
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126 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on November 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Now that George W. Bush has convincingly demonstrated his national mandate through his re-election, it might give many Americans significant pause were they to recognize the force with which the United European state is beginning to effectively countermand the current administration's strain toward military unilateralism as the seemingly singular exercisable method for extending American power and influence throughout the world. As scholar Paul Kennedy has argued forcefully elsewhere, the mighty military power we project as the primary steam-rolling vehicle of our foreign policy has both great costs and great limitations, neither of which we seem to pay much heed to, but which both have fateful consequences for the future of the republic.

Therefore, it is instructive indeed to find this thoughtful, well researched, and extremely cogently-written offering in which Mr. Reid, a former London Bureau chief for the Washington Post, argues that our chance at international hegemony may, in fact, be drawing to a premature close based on our peculiar penchant for unilateralism in foreign affairs and our confusion regarding what can be settled militarily, on the one hand, for what can be settled in political terms on the other. Our current imbroglio in Iraq, of course, comes immediately to mind, yet there are countless other egregious examples of the ways in which our social, cultural and political mindset seems to predispose us to what our European counterparts often view as counterproductive and even solipsistic efforts that often cost us far more than we gain.

As a result, contends the always provocative and entertaining Mr.
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