Fractured Continent: Europe’s Crises and the Fate of the West

William Drozdiak. Norton, $26.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-393-60868-7
Drozdiak, former Washington Post chief European correspondent, ably lays out current threats to the European Union’s cohesion while making clear that its demise would cancel out the “extraordinary achievements” made by late-20th-century European leaders. The rise of antiestablishment populism and economic nationalism, he observes, is causing increasing numbers of people to turn their backs on an admittedly unwieldy institution that nonetheless ushered in “a degree of prosperity unmatched in the rest of the world.” Drozdiak interviews political leaders in Germany, which “must decide virtually alone how to steer the continent toward an uncertain future,” as well as in the United Kingdom as it forms its Brexit strategy, in a weakened France, and in other European states. His main finding is that “the dream of European unity has begun to wither.” As the United States leans toward isolationism and Russia toward expansionism, the authors notes, the E.U. faces the nearly measureless complications of assimilating refugees while sustaining a battered economy. Under such dire circumstances, “the European social model so envied around the world for the way it softens the rough edges of capitalism could begin to fall apart.” In an impressively concise and clear volume, Drozdiak shows there are many routes to disaster, but no clear path to success. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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