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The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age
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The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Once the world’s bastion of liberal, democratic values, Europe is now having to confront demons it thought it had laid to rest. The old pathologies of anti-Semitism, populist nationalism, and territorial aggression are threatening to tear the European postwar consensus apart. In riveting dispatches from this unfolding tragedy, James Kirchick shows us the shallow disingenuo ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Yale University Press (first published March 2017)
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3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  252 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pessimistic, but not ungrounded view of the fault lines of the European internationalist experiment. This includes, but is not limited to: Russian active measures, anti-democratic euroskepticism (Fidesz, PiS), terrorism, ethnic hatred (e.g. anti-Semitism), economic downturns, separatism, demographic crises, and so on.

But Kirchick concedes a bit of hope in the final chapter, and the political situation has ticked upward in the months since the book's publication. The number of illegal migrants i
Victoria Brown
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
James Kirchick has a interesting perspective on European current affairs. Having lived in Europe for six years as a journalist, he draws on his wealth of experience to assess how politics is changing, and the challenges to the Western values of liberalism and democracy that are increasingly overt across the continent.

Divided into chapters focusing on different states, he is able to appreciate the unique qualities of each threat to the EU, from the whitewashing of history in Hungary, the interven
Owlseyes on notre dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...
“The sad fact is that, in Europe today, there’s only one group of people who are regularly killed on the basis of their identity”

"And since U.S. President Donald Trump had ordered the removal of all U.S. forces from the Baltic States in 2019 — his demand that NATO members “pay” for American protection oblivious to the fact that Estonia was one of the handful of countries meeting the alliance threshold of spending 2 percent of its GDP on defense — Putin no longer worried that his move into Es
Stephen Selbst
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Kirchick is better on politics than economics. His analysis of the rise of illiberal parties and governments and the dangers of Russia's perpetual efforts to undermine the West are perceptive and informative. But his analysis of the Greek economy is superficial and flawed. It's just a scolding regurgitation of a banker's catalog of alleged Greek sins. Moreover, although he chastises both far right and leftist/populist movements, he never acknowledges why many European voters are tired of existin ...more
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: politics
This is a highly biased account of the difficulties facing Europe by an American neocon. He makes his points by means of analyses of contemporary Germany, Estonia, France, Great Britain, Greece & the EU. There is a lot of good information but the obvious bias & inclusion of opinion make it very hard to digest not to speak of trusting.
Kevin Warman
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
First book of the year! I'd honestly like to say I enjoyed this book more than I actually did. Did I learn a lot, perhaps. Was it elegantly written? One could argue, yes. However, a number of his points seemed more afloat in emotions, than grounded in fact.
Something that also did not settle well with me was the questions about the supposed liberal defense of Islam (red-green alliance?). As an openly gay man, I'll admit I have asked "why might the liberal left join the in the defense of others wh
Ryan Barker
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
A clear-eyed relatively unbiased analysis of the current state of Europe and where it could go in the future. Kirchick isn't pushing an agenda and offers factual analysis. If you are reading this as a partisan reader there's a chance you'll be offended by at least one of his points that will disagree with your narrative.
Chris Jaffe
This was a very good book about the current status of Europe - or more accurately how an era of European history appears to be falling by the wayside, and a nastier period beginning. I don't always agree with everything Kirchick says in his analysis, but he backs up his points fairly well. That makes sense, as he is a member of a foreign policy think tank in Washington and has written articles on Europe.

Aside from a brief intro and a similarly length conclusion, the book consists of eight chapte
Florian Bieber
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
It makes some good points, but is to simplistic in its view, not trying to understand the rise of dictators in a more nuanced manner. It also is extremely critical of the rise of authoritarianism and populism in Europe, but not reflecting on similar dynamics back in the US, thus ignoring the wider picture.
Apr 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a silly and shallow book. But it is not worthless, because it serves to exemplify and clarify modern political fracture lines. In the West, the major political split today is between those who view the modern liberal project of maximum individual freedom and maximum democracy (as long as the voters make the correct choices) as the ultimate and unquestionable good, and those who view that project as either inherently defective or sharply limited in the good it brings to humanity. If Rysza ...more
Gilda Felt
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I’m of two minds when it comes to this book. While many of Kirchick’s arguments are sound, I wonder at how much he lets the EU off the hook. Especially when it comes to Greece. Yes, the country made mistakes, but taking more money away from people is no way to grow an economy. Government spending as opposed to austerity is the difference between much of Europe’s anemic growth and the US’s robust growth.

But I very much agree with him about the threat the Russia poses.Their interference in our ele
Peter Mcloughlin
Very dire outlook on the future security of Europe and the future of the EU and the Transatlantic Alliance. With the wave of refugees in 2015, Brexit, rising nationalism, a resurgent far right, Russian designs at resetting the map of Europe and the disintegrating EU and Transatlantic Alliance. Things look bad all across the west. This is a period where we have lost our moorings and the future is up in the air. Not pleasant to read but necessary.
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Devastating but important read. If you're looking for your next wonky non-fiction, this is it. Jamie points out trends that have been slowly eroding the foundation of European ideals. The chapter on Ukraine was killer - I kept underlining every other sentence for insights into how Russians funded the disinformation campaign there. I hope this book is a warning, not a prophecy.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved this. Thought-provoking and yes, terrifying, but Kirchick understands Europe much better than most American commentators (or even many European ones) seem to, and he pulls no punches in detailing the worrying trends in today's Europe. These include the rise of far-right politicians, anti-semitism and failure to collaborate adequately in the face of external threats.

As an Estonian in London, several of the elements of the story hit close to home. The Russian bear has been flexing its muscl
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor
Fun little glimpse into the NeoCon mindset with its many pathologies, which is really the only reason why I’m giving it 2 start. It is important, I think, to remind oneself that these “conservatives“ are really one‘s enemies every bit as their far left brethren are. Works such as these are good for that, if nothing else.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jonas VD
Het Europese project zit onmiskenbaar in de hoek waar de klappen vallen. Dat is ook de Amerikaanse journalist James Kirchick niet ontgaan. Maar er is meer aan de hand. In zijn boek 'Het Einde van Europa: dictators, demagogen en de komst van donkere' tijden schetst Kirchick een weinig vrolijke toekomstvisie. Hoewel de titel erger doet vermoeden, voorspelt hij geen oorlog op het continent en vreest hij ook niet voor het einde van de Europese Unie. Wat volgens hem wel bedreigd wordt, is het vertrou ...more
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is disappointing, mostly because it suffers from the same problem that most English writing about Europe does: It does not understand Europe.

Two examples to illustrate what I mean about the writer in this case.

In the chapter about Germany he references a study / report by the "Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz" and equates it to the FBI. This is patently wrong. The BfV is the constitutional police, tracing it's history back to the Prussian Empire where it was the political police. The BKA (Bu
Tori Shaw
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A truly fascinating book that provides insight into how the rise of populism, xenophobia, and mass migration in Europe pose challenges to a free and democratic society. As someone who has lived and studied in Hungary, I found his assessment of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's threat to the cohesiveness of the European Union particularly intriguing, from his desire to emulate Russia's "illiberal democracy" to his financial admonishment of journalists who criticize his politics. Kirchick's character ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Note, I read the Dutch translation and will do the review in Dutch.

Met zo'n titel weet je van tevoren al dat het geen vrolijk boek gaat worden. Wel leerzaam en inzichtgevend. Hoe Poetin maar aan de macht blijft, en zijn vleugels steeds verder probeert uit te slaan. Hoe hij daarmee door zal gaan zolang niemand er iets van zegt. Hoe Hongarije onder Orbán terug in de tijd gaat, minder democratisch wordt. Hoe Duitsland na WO II haast doorslaat naar de andere kant, op tenen lopend, conflict uit de we
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
In 'The End of Europe' James Kirchick makes an interesting and provocative case for the United States focusing more on Europe. Focusing on a wide array of issues confronting Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Greece and Europe as a whole, Kirchik argues that the EU and liberalism are in trouble.

He advocates for a pro-EU, liberal, brand of politics within Europe that is honest about the threats of unfettered immigration and revanchist Russian foreign policy. Kirchik also suggests that European
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Een goed geschreven, maar niet helemaal uitgebalanceerd verhaal over de problemen nu in Europa. Duidelijk vanuit een Amerikaanse invalshoek geschreven; wel even voor Trump echt aan de macht kwam. Vooral de stukken over Duitsland en Baltische landen vind ik ongenuanceerd, de stukken over Engeland (Brexit), Polen, Hongarije, Frankrijk en Griekenland zijn beter doordacht. De waarschuwingen voor het opkomend populisme en anti-semitisme zijn terecht. Maar de oplossingen zijn niet zo simpel als de sch ...more
Brian Mikołajczyk
A survey of the rise of demagoguery across Europe in Poland, France, Hungary, Ukraine, Greece, Britain (with Brexit), and even in Germany. Russian financial influence on all these parties and their annexation of Crimea have pushed the EU to the brink of political collapse. The immigration/migrant crisis from Africa and the Middle East have also exacerbated the rise of these far right-wing parties.
victor harris
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Complicated and on the wordy side, but worth taking note of as Putin continues to try to extend his influence. Probably a valid claim that there is a shift to less Enlightenment-minded governments in Europe that undermine the liberal traditions in place since WW II. Accept as cautionary but not predictive.
Radovan Čižmár
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very exhaustive thoughts about ongoing geopolitical, but mainly disturbing processes inside the old continent. Author focuses mainly on the recent milestones which have large impact on national and international scale. Very personal to nations of Eastern Europe and nations with socialistic tuned government.
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kniha je dle mého soudu skvělým popisem nejpalčivějších témat dnešní Evropy. Autor čtenáři nabízí své úvahy společně s politickými návrhy, jak
se pokusit tyto problémy řešit.
Mělo by si ji přečíst co nejvíce lidí, už jen proto, aby si současnou krizi společné Evropy lépe uvědomili a pokud souhlasí s jejími myšlenkami, aby je pomocí dialogu přenášeli ve společnosti, za vidinou její záchrany.
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Een vlijmscherpe analyse van de problemen in Europa en in de Europese Unie. Soms een beetje te conservatief naar mijn smaak, maar over het algemeen kan ik het wel met de schrijver eens zijn. en ja, hij blijft natuurlijk een Amerikaan. Vooral de stukken over Hongarije, de Brexit, Griekenland en de Oekraine zijn, op zijn zachtst gezegd, verontrustend. Goed, helder geschreven.
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-de-kast
Niet zo'n makkelijk maar wel verhelderend boek over de recente ontwikkelingen in Europa die de democratie zouden kunnen bedreigen. Met een Amerikaanse bril en met sympathie voor het liberalisme maar dat maakt het misschien wel zo interessant.
Nicole Solis
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Not sure of Kirchick's political positioning but it seems that he wants to appear neutral. Yet, some of what was written seemed like a repetition of far right rhetoric without any new, original viewpoint but just an attempt to redefine what is neutral.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a tough read just like any book that actually deals with the reality
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“Second to Russia, no European country is manipulating its history for political purposes more egregiously than Hungary. In both places, rewriting the past is done with an eye to the future, as governments inculcate their citizenries with nationalism, irredentism, and intolerance and then marshal these attitudes in service of the state.” 0 likes
“One astute observer of Russian disinformation operations describes its information strategy as comprising four “d’s”—“dismiss the critic, distort the facts, distract from the main issue, and dismay the audience”—creating “a moral quagmire in which everyone is wrong, and therefore wrong actions become normal.” 0 likes
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