Europe on the Eve

In This Review

Europe on the Eve

By Frederick L. Schuman
Knopf, 1939
586 pp. $3.50
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This book, by the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government in Williams College, covers more ground than its title might indicate, for its purpose is to trace the decline of Western civilization as reflected in the rapid disintegration of the ideal of collective security and in the concomitant rise of the aggressor -- "gangster" -- states during the last six years. Professor Schuman sees no hope for the "democratic" states, which have become flabby both morally and physically. He finds that they have been bemused into impotence by their devotion to Property and Sovereignty (by which he means Nationalism). The future, he believes, belongs either to the Berlin-Tokyo-Rome Triangle or to Moscow; and he is not reassuring about the likelihood that America can escape Europe's fate. Most readers will doubtless think Professor Schuman too pessimistic, though they may find his "realism" refreshing in this day when so many of the best minds in the democratic countries have surrendered to intellectual "appeasement." In any event, this is one of the most important, if baffling, books of the year. In it are combined brilliant scholarship and partisan diatribe, acute analysis and Spenglerian cosmology.