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Can you have the same Europe with different people in it? The answer, says Christopher Caldwell, is no.
Europe has undergone a demographic revolution it never expected. A half century of mass immigration has failed to produce anything resembling an American-style melting pot. By overestimating its need for immigrant labor and underestimating the culture-shaping potential of religion, Europe has trapped itself in a problem to which it has no obvious solution.
Christopher Caldwell has been reporting on the politics and culture of Islam in Europe for more than a decade. His deeply researched and insightful new book reveals a paradox. Since World War II, mass immigration has been made possible by Europe’s enforcement of secularism, tolerance, and equality. But when immigrants arrive, they are not required to adopt those values. And they are disinclined to, since they already have values of their own. Muslims dominate or nearly dominate important European cities, including Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Strasbourg and Marseille, the Paris suburbs and East London. Islam has challenged the European way of life at every turn, becoming, in effect, an “adversary culture.”
The result? In Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, Caldwell reveals the anger of natives and newcomers alike. He describes guest worker programs that far outlasted their economic justifications, and asylum policies that have served illegal immigrants better than refugees. He exposes the strange ways in which welfare states interact with Third World customs, the anti-Americanism that brings European natives and Muslim newcomers together, and the arguments over women and sex that drive them apart. He considers the appeal of sharia, “resistance,” and jihad to a second generation that is more alienated from Europe than the first, and addresses a crisis of faith among native Europeans that leaves them with a weak hand as they confront the claims of newcomers.
As increasingly assertive immigrant populations shape the continent, Caldwell writes, the foundations of European culture and civilization are being challenged and replaced. Reflections on the Revolution in Europe is destined to become the classic work on how Muslim immigration permanently reshaped the West.
“Caldwell compiles his arguments patiently . . . with lucidity and intellectual grace and even wit. . . . He is a vivid writer, and like an action-movie hero he walks calmly away from his own detonations while fire swirl behinds him. . . . Mr. Caldwell’s book is the most rigorous and plainspoken examination of Muslim immigration in Europe to date, a sobering book that walks right up to, if never quite crossing, the line between being alarming and being alarmist. . . . Well-researched, fervently argued and morally serious . . . it may serve as a wake-up call to many of Europe’s liberal democracies.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Caldwell gives his subject its most sustained and thoughtful treatment to date.” — Fouad Ajami, The New York Times Book Review
“This book is the best on its subject I have read.” —Theodore Dalrymple, National Review
“400 pages of must-reading. . . . A truly rare combination of ground-truth reporting about—and historically and sociologically informed analysis of—the state of Europe today.” —The Weekly Standard
“Caldwell makes [his] arguments unusually well, in a book notable for its range, synthesis of the literature, analytical rigor and elegant tone.” —Claire Berlinksi, The Washington Post
“Caldwell is a bracing, clear-eyed analyst of European pieties. . . . This book pulsates with ideas.” —David Goodhart, The Observer (UK)
“Caldwell knows Europe, especially France, better than most American and British commentators. . . . He is very good at pinpointing denial and flight from reality. . . . If his book sharpens a so far sluggish debate, it will have served an important purpose.” —Martin Woollacott, The Guardian (UK)
“In this book, Christopher Caldwell presents a daring, thoroughly researched and provocative view of the Islamic revolution underway in Europe. It’s a chilling account of how complacency, moral relativism and socialist dogma froze the European imagination while the agents of radical Islam proceeded, sure-footed, to claim Europe neighborhood by neighborhood. There have been many wake-up calls to alert Europeans to the challenges of immigration and the threat of Islam, but if anything should thaw the minds of the European leadership, it is this book.” —Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“Among the many brilliant things Christopher Caldwell has done in Reflections is write a how-not-to book about immigration. Once again Europe has shown us the way—to go wrong. Thanks to Caldwell’s careful reporting and keen analysis we know exactly what we shouldn’t do when new people move to our country.” —P.J. O’Rourke
“In Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, Christopher Caldwell combines an authentically Burkean historical breadth of vision with a reporter’s keen eye for detail. No one can seriously doubt after reading this book that large-scale immigration, particularly of Muslims, is in the process of transforming Europe profoundly. From the strife-torn banlieues of Paris to the multiplying minarets of Middle England, as Caldwell shows, we are a very long way indeed from the merry multicultural melting-pot of bien-pensant fantasy.” —Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University, and author of The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West