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The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  756 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
To Americans accustomed to unilateralism abroad and social belt-tightening at home, few books could be more revelatory—or controversial—than this timely, lucid, and informative portrait of the new European Union.Now comprising 25 nations and 450 million citizens, the EU has more people, more wealth, and more votes on every international body than the United States. It esch ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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Syed Fathi
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bought
A very insightful read on post-war Europe and how a continent choose a path of peace and progress by forging a union. EU is far from perfect, with Britain holding a referendum next month for their Brexit, but at least EU have shown to the world that nationalism breed hatred and war. By forging unity, accept differences and try to find ways working together, EU have done a job which is unthinkable before. Other nation must look closely to their model and try to overcome their national boundaries, ...more
Nathan Albright
May 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: challenge2017
A friend of mine with questionable taste in books [1] had borrowed this book from another mutual friend and loaned it on to me, and while at first I found much to appreciate about this book, as the book progressed I was more and more irritated at the author and about his point of view, and by the end of the book I was convinced that the author and those of like mind on the part of the left who want to copy Europe's model of life ought to be declared ineligible to be a part of the American politi ...more
Franziska
I like this one. It was a captivating, quick read that was also very informative. I think what I liked about this book versus another one I have read regarding the differences between the US and European Union etc. is that this book was a little less nice on Europe. That way, I felt I wasn't getting too proud at how cool Europe is, and I think it'd be a lot easier to stomach for an American who wants to read/learn more about Europe. I think it presented the pro's and con's and overall tendencies ...more
Carrie
Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: European History and Economic Future Readers
Recommended to Carrie by: Crystal Pennington
Washington Post writer, tells the story of the rise of the European Union and its mission to act as a counterweight to American global supremacy.

Anyone who has traveled through Europe since 2002, will see some significant changes. European integration has brought power. The elimination of trade barriers, the adoption of a common regulatory system, and the advent of the Euro (the world's strongest currency for much of it's life,) have made the European Union a financial and commercial superpower.
...more
mani
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics-nations
A light but informative read. Shows all the struggle, political will and smart constructive measures post WW2 which has led to current powerful, wealthy Europe. The only thing I did n t like - the author seems to have a very arrogant, superior ("USA" is the greatest nation and leader on earth type rants) and condescending tone which was annoying.
D
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Engaging but felt a little outdated (2004) and filled with very europhile, cherry-picked statistics. However a useful reminder that the world is always changing
Mark
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Combining Reid's book with Mark Schapiro's Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products... makes a nice 1-2 combo for getting a feel for how the European Union is reshaping and rebalancing the world.

Ahh, what a beautiful American I am -- I read two books and instantly start spouting claims about how simple things really are...

But really, things are quite simple.

After bearing the brunt of the two world wars where human brutality was neatly matched with a new plateau of human ingenuity (tha
...more
Bryan
The Other Side of the Ocean: This is a great book. Reid spells out the ascendancy of Europe from the ashes of WWII into a corporate nanny state - no politics in that statement, it just seems like a deliberate choice on the part of the Europeans.

The history alone is worthwhile but Reid has several sections which should be taught in schools as Things We Should Have Paid Attention To Instead Of Our Usual Pop Culture Navel-Gazing:

1. The rise of the EU as a force deliberately created as a counterba
...more
Eric
Sep 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book had good facts; facts about how the Euro currency was rolled out, facts about GE's failed attempt to buy Honeywell, facts about the European social model. However, I interpret all his facts very differently than the author.

The reason I give the book only two stars is because I strongly disagree with Reid's premise: A dozen plus countries ceding much of their soverign authority to a common central government has produced and will continue to produce a "great" society that not only will
...more
Joe
Oct 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
By 2010, the European Union could be the dominant world powerhouse: by joining together, they have a large combined economy, a population greater than the US, and can vote together as a bloc on international committees. What could possibly go wrong?

The answer, of course, is "lots". By combining together, their strengths may seem larger, but so are their problems. And who's to say that "combined" really means that they act as one? It reminds me of the story of the fool who wanted to make rocks fl
...more
Kevin
Oct 22, 2010 rated it liked it
My (socialist) friend sent me a copy of this book, thinking that I could benefit from seeing the world outside of US-centric neoliberal economic views ... :-)

The book has an interesting perspective that focuses on the growing political and economic clout that The EU has due to its market size. It sites examples of the EU blocking large global mergers of US companies, the increasing value of the Euro currency and the trend of rich countries diversifying their treasury holdings away from the US do
...more
Donitello
Apr 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
There’s a reason why T.R. Reid’s book, published three years ago, continues to enjoy a very nice sales ranking on amazon. With great humor and intelligence, Reid describes: 1) many of the developments leading up to the formation of the EU; 2) some of its early achievements (read especially Chapters 3 and 4, “The Almighty Undollar” and “Welch’s Waterloo”); and 3) the future implications of a unified Europe both for the US and the world. Much of the work comes from events Reid has witnessed firsth ...more
E
Dec 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics-history
I read this book after already having moved to Europe from the U.S. over a year before due to the many (appealing) ways Reid shows life in the E.U. is different to that in the U.S. Don't believe anything you hear to the contrary: Europeans DO live with better health care, more socialism, less jingoism, less militarism, less religion, and more sexual emancipation, AND THEY LIKE IT THAT WAY.

I then passed it on to a European friend who said he felt unusually proud to be European throughout the cou
...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Anyone who even glances at international headlines already knows there's a powerful new presence emerging in what used to be known as "the Old World." Reid provides a strong introduction to the EU's unprecedented exercise in international cooperation. While some reviewers take issue with what they view as overstatement, oversimplification, or selective inclusion of facts, most, if not all, agree with Reid's underlying message: Americans need to pay far more attention to the activity across the A

...more
Mariana
Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book about the transformations taking place in Europe right now. There is a new generation, generation E (citizens of Europe rather than citizens of a specific country) - they can work and live anywhere in Europe. They are united by the dream of making Europe a second superpower.
Europe is trying to be everything that the US is not. They make the rules because they have a huge market, more than half of the global commerce. And they also have a bigger vote in the international org
...more
Myles
Jul 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I read this as a library book long before I was given a copy, but I still recall how engrossed I was in this book that treated Europe in the modern era rather than as an antique.

Some of the ideas in this book have become a trifle dated, but I read it shortly after it came out and I was fascinated by the possibilities.

Reid eloquently describes straight-forwardly the rise of the EU and what it means for the U.S. as well as other states such as China. I personally think Reid overstates his case, g
...more
pomegranate
Nov 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Explicitly pro-EU tract that paints an exaggeratedly rosy picture of life in the EU versus life in the United States. I do wish Reid included the more sordid and unpleasant details about the genesis, support and style of the EU, but he seemed deeply averse to criticizing any part of the New Europe, aka the United States of Europe.

Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this engaging and fun book, though I disagree with his subtitle, because the news runs counter to his theory that we are witnessi
...more
Ron
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
While it is hard to disagree that Europe should be a united power that would supersede the United States in populous, economic influence and political power, Reid disappoints with a somewhat bland rendering of that assertion. The world might be better served if Europeans DID take the lead on the world stage and stand up to the United States--I'm sure no one can imagine the US going to war with Europe--but Reid offers nothing along the lines of a realistic way for this to be achieved, instead see ...more
Mike
Dec 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book provides a nice light overview of the European Union, from the events that prompted its creation (most notably two world wars) to the success of the Euro. I'd recommend this to anybody who wants to understand how influential the EU has become. The author comes off as a bit of a Euro-fanboy at times, but overall is balanced in his assessment of the Europeans.

The most interesting thing I learned was that English is the de facto language across the continent, as well as the official langu
...more
Randy
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Why are sodas and liquors sold in the U.S. measured in liters? A market of 500,000,000 consumers prefers it that way. I'm not entirely sure how I was allowed to graduate high school completely unfamiliar with the main narrative related in this book. I only became aware of the European Union sometime in the early to mid '90's assuming it was therefore a fairly new development. Nothing that big happens that fast.
Cheryl
Jan 17, 2014 rated it liked it
An interesting look at the way Europe has moved toward a more unified stance economically, legally, politically, etc., and the effect that unification has on the larger global landscape. The book was written in the early 2000s shortly after the introduction of the Euro and it would be interesting to do an updated look back 10+ years later and see what effects the economic downturns have had on the general unification and what the future might hold.
Natalie
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Anyone who has an affinity for Europe should read this one. Reid explains how Europe is giving the United States a run for its money, to say the least. The book is as much history as it is informational tidbits on the culture and mentality of Europe as a whole. I've heard that this book has sparked a bit of controversy in the U.S., but having lived and worked in Europe, I found this to be a very fair assessment of how Europeans are and why they like what they do.
Karen
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adults
Excellent book. Author TR Reid is a journalist. History and current status of the European Union. The EU started just after WWII as the "Coal and Steel Community" by 6 countries who wanted to be sure such destruction as occurred in WWI and WWII never happened on their continent again. In 1957 it became the European Economic Community, aka, the Common Market, and today is the EU. I found this book educational and enlightening.
John
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book clearly traces the origins of the European union from the years immediately after World War II, to the present. In a well-written and readable manner, this book describes the main principles behind the European Union, how it is different from the United States system and how it borrows from the U.S. Model.
Orea
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was very interesting, especially reading it now with all the stuff going on in Europe. I never really knew how the European Union came into being and this explained how and why the Union is like it is. It will be interesting to see how the European Union holds together with their debt crisis.
Jennifer
Sep 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
I feel like this book should be required reading in high school or college. We (U.S. Citizens) are often so wrapped up in our own doings that we are completely unaware of alternative (perhaps even better) ways of handling important national and global matters. I think the U.S.A. is going to have a major wake up call in the near future, and this book illustrates why.
Roberta
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poleco
I wish I had found this book when I had to write a paper on the economic, political and social drivers of European integration. The book is an informative and insightful read, which feels more like a history lesson for me now, since the book was published in 2004. It was an interesting experience, reading such an optimistic book about the EU amidst the current Brexit crisis.
Kara
Mar 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read for both EU and non-EU memebers. Includes a general history of the EU formation, direction of the EU forward, and inside view of how modern day Europe sees themself and the rest of the world.
Should be required by those who want to play ahead for the 'new' rules following the global economy recovery.
Highly recommended.
Cheryl
Mar 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A very thought-provoking book. A brief history of the development of the EU is set forth, along with an analysis of the EU's political and economic power - and what the future holds. Not only did I learn a great deal about the EU, but also about the US (our relative military spending is astounding!).
Paul Laureano
Jul 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to see the whole from a different prespective.
This is a bit on the intellectual side but very interesting none the less. Discusses how Europe continues to grow both politically and financially posing a threat to US dominance. A conclusion might be that the best thing for th US is to have a superpower rival. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and competition brings out the best.
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T.R. Reid is a reporter, documentary film correspondent and author. He is also a frequent guest on NPR's Morning Edition. Through his reporting for The Washington Post, his syndicated weekly column, and his light-hearted commentary from around the world for National Public Radio, he has become one of America’s best-known foreign correspondents.

Reid, a Classics major at Princeton University, served
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