The Future Of Liberal Revolution

In This Review

The Future Of Liberal Revolution

By Bruce A. Ackerman
Yale University Press, 1992
153 pp. $18.50
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Ackerman, a professor of law at Yale, has been intellectually seized by the impact of the end of the Cold War on eastern Europe. 1989 should serve as the beginning of an era, he says, in which "liberals again walk the world with a sense of revolutionary opportunity." Yet the author fears that as America recedes from western Europe, Europeans will revert to mindless nationalism. It is the nationalist right in western Europe that is mobilizing popular support. And in eastern Europe, in the rush to build market economies, the former communist legal system has been amended but not fully overturned. Ackerman pleads for far greater attention to constitutional construction that will guarantee civil liberties. There is much to this argument, yet one senses its peculiarly American tone, without adequate acknowledgement of Europe's differing political and legal traditions.