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Cube And The Cathedral

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  223 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Why do Europeans and Americans see the world so differently? Why do Europeans and Americans have such different understandings of democracy in the twenty-first century? Why is Europe dying, demographically? In "The Cube and the Cathedral," George Weigel offers a penetrating critique of "Europe's problem" and draws out its lessons for the rest of the democratic world. Contr ...more
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Published April 1st 2005 by Gracewing Publishing (first published January 28th 2005)
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Jul 28, 2015 Caleb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book offers some good insights into Europe's past and present, tolerance, and the importance of Christianity in public. However, the Cube and the Cathedral is too much of a polemic to be anything more than a political statement. It is very much of its time, especially regarding the tensions between Europe and America in the midst of the Bush era. Weigel doesn't really engage the ideas of those that he is criticizing and his history is deceptively selective at best. A more honest book would ...more
Jul 04, 2008 Will marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture-politics
Favorable review in Nat'l Review. "Learn what happens to Europe when nothing but the Enlightenment is left."
Weigel's THE CUBE AND THE CATHEDRAL is a slim collection of brief meditations on the problems affecting Europe and some possible solutions. Weigel draws together the thoughts of Robert Kagan on geopolitics, and Joseph Weiler on the continent's Judaeo-Christian heritage, and is informed by the author's own experiences with Polish history.

The book takes its title from the cubiform Grande Arche de la Defense in Paris, which is often claimed in guidebooks big enough to hold the entire Cathedral of N
Oct 25, 2015 Dustin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
RECOMMENDED READING for anyone wanting to think clearly about culture and how it is shaped.

"It is not true, as is sometimes said, that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true is that, without God, he can only organize it against man."

It was helpful (and highly recommended) to read this book alongside How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill and When a Nation Forgets God by Erwin Lutzer.

It would be a tragedy to "erase" the influence, benefits, and responsibility that Chri
Jan 27, 2011 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to John by: Ardel Caneday
Shelves: 2011
This is an excellent examination of the spiritual life of contemporary Europe, its relevance to American spiritual life--written by a Catholic theologian. Weigel argues that prior to the Reformation, the seeds of human autonomy were sown--as they blossomed, they lead to the human cry for freedom from the perceived slavery of the Christian God.

Europe is now bent on forgetting its Christian heritage, and is about to lose all its inheritance as the population is diminishing and about to abandon it
John Roberson
Weigel pits the coldly rational impersonal culture of high humanism ("The Cube," L'Arche De La Defence) against the personal, character-filled, tradition-bound culture of medieval Christianity ("The Cathedral," Notre Dame). That architectural analogy (explored in the first couple of pages) is the high point of the book; other than that, treat it as an annotated bibliography of other authors (de Lubac, John Paul II, etc.) who are worth reading. Ultimately I think he's over-committed to making the ...more
Jul 24, 2008 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book deals with Europe's declining religious faith and its implications for politics in that continent. The author makes a number of good points, particularly about the role of the Catholic Church in the fall of Communism, and how that has affected Europe's public intellectuals. Although I agree with the author's conclusions overall, I felt that many of the assertions weren't supported as well as they could be. For instance, the author argues that a Europe where faith plays a more important ...more
Christian Dibblee
As far as arguments go, this is very 20,000 feet. I tended to agree with a lot of his assertions, particularly about the strange definition of "tolerance" being peddled in Europe today. He also did a good job pointing out the problem with widespread secularization, and that losing faith in core principles of truth will change how a society reacts to various factors. That said, it might have been a little more enjoyable had it been more in-depth. He certainly raises some good theories and authors ...more
This was one of those books that I read because it popped up on an "important conservative books that came out this year" list, but I didn't expect to really enjoy it. To my surprise, not only was it a quick read, but it was actually an enjoyable and informative one. Since the author is Catholic I didn't agree with all his viewpoints, but his points on the humanization and loss of faith of Europe not only made a lot of sense, but explained a lot of what I saw when I was there.
This was a really good look at the current situation facing European culture in regards to the conscious dismissal of Christianity. Weigal examines the causes, going back to the beginning of the twentieth century, as well as possible repercussions.

The book also gave insight to the prevailing philosophies of the day, in both Europe and America.

Altogether, a very interesting read that is thought provoking and well written.
Mar 06, 2016 Axel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insightful summary of the intertwining of the church and state in the development of Europe. Chapters are brief like essays or articles. Skillful blend of history, government, and philosophy - he presents the rationale on both sides of church and state as seen at 1648 in Westphalia and in the forming of the constitution of the European Union. Points considered - human freedom not exhausted by personal autonomy, the worth of a human being far exceeding arguments for utility.
Andy Erickson
My brain hurts... but in a good way.

I may not be learned enough for this book. I had to keep Wikipedia open for all of his references to war, politics and people. I also used a dictionary more than I'd like to admit.

Overall very challenging, slow at times and it seemed to be in the weeds at times without great flow. He seems more like a researcher than a writer.

Great insight, super smart dude, I liked the book.
May 15, 2014 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite it's now being ten years old, this essay is still very much needed. The forces at work in Europe, predictably, are now afflicting the United States, but meeting much more resistance here. This is Weigel at his economic best, being concise, yet thorough, in warning us about the need for the transcendent, even in political life.
Alan Lampe
Apr 30, 2015 Alan Lampe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really good, easy to read argument on what is happening, spiritually at least, between Europe and America. It was written in 2004 / 2005 so that needs to be taken into consideration as well. George makes a very good point that what is happening in Europe could very well happen in America by the end of the century.
Jim Belcher
Mar 14, 2011 Jim Belcher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am using parts of this book for my current research. It is a terrific read about Europe's loss of morale and desire to defend its culture, democracy, and human rights. I try to read everything Weigel pens; he is the leading Catholic social philosopher today in my estimation.
Nov 04, 2012 Jess rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Complete Review sums up my opinion perfectly. See:
Dec 30, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nicely written essay. The chapter entitled "Two Ideas of Freedom" is especially worth reading. This chapter helps frame the whole discussion on human freedom and man's response to freedom.
Apr 10, 2011 Teresa is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Thought-provoking so far. I feel like this book is going to lead to a lot of research on my end, because if the facts he is presenting are accurate, it is a worrisome picture.
Jul 22, 2008 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-books
The author makes a strong case for the fact that there can be no true democracy/political freedom without a firm moral and spiritual foundation (rooted in God)
May 06, 2012 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting essay describing the political/social/religious decline in Europe using an architectural metaphor.
May 15, 2009 Seth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this one. If Weigel's writing has a flaw it is that he oversimplifies an extremely complex topic, but I am not sure he does.
swissmiss rated it liked it
Nov 11, 2012
Timothy Hall
Timothy Hall rated it really liked it
Oct 17, 2013
Laurrie Deal
Laurrie Deal rated it really liked it
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Sep 14, 2008
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Oct 20, 2013
Sujith rated it really liked it
Apr 01, 2013
Aaron S
Aaron S rated it liked it
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Nov 29, 2008 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michelle by: George Wythe University
A good book. Certainly slanted towards a Catholic point-of-view.
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American author and political and social activist. Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Weigel was the Founding President of the James Madison Foundation.

Each summer, Weigel and several other Catholic intellectuals from the United States, Poland, and across Europe conduct the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society in Krakow, in which they and an assortment of
More about George Weigel...

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“American power made it possible for Europeans to believe that power was no longer important." -Robert Kagan” 2 likes
“European man has convinced himself that in order to be modern and free, he must be radically secular. That conviction has had crucial, indeed lethal, consequences or European public life and European culture.” 0 likes
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