A Grand Illusion? An Essay on Europe

A Grand Illusion? An Essay on Europe

A Grand Illusion? An Essay on Europe

A Grand Illusion? An Essay on Europe

Synopsis

"I am enthusiastically European; no informed person could seriously wish to return to the embattled, mutually antagonistic circle of suspicious and introverted nations that was the European continent in the quite recent past. But it is one thing to think an outcome desirable, quite another to suppose it is possible. It is my contention that a truly united Europe is sufficiently unlikely for it to be unwise and self-defeating to insist upon it. I am thus, I suppose, a Euro-pessimist."
--Tony Judt.

Excerpt

This book is based on lectures I gave at the Johns Hopkins Center in Bologna in May 1995, under the auspices of The New York Review of Books and Hill and Wang. I should like to thank the director of the Center, Professor Robert Evans, for his hospitality, and Professor Pietro Corsi, editor of La Rivista dei Libri, for helping to organize and sponsor the series. The lively discussions that followed the lectures were most helpful, and I hope that in what follows it will be clear how much I have learned from them. The original idea for the book came out of conversations with Robert Silvers and Elisabeth Sifton, and I am especially grateful to them both for their suggestions and their encouragement.

More than an occasional piece, but much less than a history, this book is really an attempt to address three contemporary questions: What are the prospects for the European Union? If they are not wholly rosy, why is that? And how much does it, in any event, matter whether a united Europe may or may not come about? The cast of the questions, and the answers I shall propose, may seem to mark me as a Euro-skeptic, the more so because I am British—by nationality if not by resi-

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