From Publishers Weekly
Having recently published an indictment of Christian fundamentalist intolerance in the U.S. (Stealing Jesus
), New York native Bawer relocated to Europe with his Norwegian partner in 1998 and found an even more dangerous strain of religious and cultural bigotry ensnaring Western Europe. A swarming menace called radical Islam, he writes, rings Europe's cities in smoldering Muslim ghettos, provoking everything from so-called honor killings and political assassinations to the Madrid subway bombings and the massacre of school children in Beslan. Worse, the Taliban-like theocracy Bawer sees looming inside backward immigrant populations resistant to integration flourishes under the protective wing of Western Europe's America-bashing, multicultural, liberal establishment. The latter correspond to the appeasers of Nazi Germany, in Bawer's view, since he believes that radical Islamism is every bit the threat to Western civilization that Nazism was. He scoffs at talk of "understanding" or "dialogue," indeed, at any but the most muscular response hitching Europe ever tighter to the U.S. war on terror. His clash-of-civilizations outlook means real issues often get washed away by sweeping statements designed to tar Europe's Muslims with one irredeemably hostile, welfare-sponging brush, while trading in well-worn stereotypes about virtuous American "realists" and corrupt European "idealists." (Mar.)
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Bruce Bawer, who has wrestled previously about American fundamentalism (Stealing Jesus
) and gay rights (A Place at the Table
), finds an equally contentious and compelling subject in the blind eye of European liberalism. Enchanted by the famed tolerance of Amsterdam, Bawer moved to Europe in 1998. But after settling in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood, the author noticed a society that offered "millions in aid, but not a penny in salary." Reviewers find Bawer an eloquent writer with his passion balanced between his American sensibilities and his European residence. The sharpest criticismthat a lack of a bibliography turns While Europe Slept
into an exercise in pamphleteeringdoesn't undermine the ultimate effectiveness, or importance, of Bawer's thesis.
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