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The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  173 ratings  ·  19 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. Contras ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 28th 2006 by Basic Books (first published January 28th 2005)
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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
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
Jan 29, 2011 John rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Jim Belcher
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.
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.
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)
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.
An interesting essay describing the political/social/religious decline in Europe using an architectural metaphor.
The Complete Review sums up my opinion perfectly. See:
A good read, especially in light of the burden for Western Europe. A quick read, I might add too!
A little too PoliSci/historical for my tastes, but a thorough treatment of the issues.
Nov 29, 2008 Michelle rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michelle by: George Wythe University
A good book. Certainly slanted towards a Catholic point-of-view.
Religion changes things.
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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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“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
“American power made it possible for Europeans to believe that power was no longer important." -Robert Kagan” 0 likes
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