In This Review

The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age
The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age
By James Kirchick
Yale University Press, 2017, 288 pp

Through engaging anecdotes, Kirchick paints a dark picture of contemporary Europe: rising anti-Semitism and Islamic radicalization, a looming Russian threat, the spread of Brexit-like referendums, the coming dominance of the far right, rampant nationalism, economic dysfunction, and the danger posed by hoards of immigrants—all of which, he warns, could trigger the dissolution of the EU, the collapse of democratic government, and the outbreak of a war on the continent. Similar forecasts have been issued like clockwork almost since the birth of the EU. Yet over the decades, European democracy has not collapsed, war has not broken out, the frequency of terrorist acts has declined, and Europeans have increasingly come to see Christianity as no longer essential to their national identities. Even the great wave of refugees that swept into Europe in 2015 has already crested, with the number plummeting over the past year and a half, in large part due to EU policies. With the exception of the United Kingdom, no member state has really contemplated exiting the EU, and even the British are now negotiating to retain as many EU policies as possible. So perhaps readers should not be surprised that, in his brief conclusion, Kirchick reverses course, tells some optimistic stories, and suggests that perhaps “the end” is not quite here yet. Europe, it seems, might still be saved.