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Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century Paperback – 21 Feb 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (21 Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007195311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007195312
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 917,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘Mark Leonard deserves to be listened to.’ Independent

'Mark Leonard has done that rare thing; he has reshaped how we look at the world … This is a refreshing, compelling and above all optimistic book that moves the European debate onto wholly new ground. British Eurosceptics beware.'
Will Hutton, author of ‘The State We're In’

‘Mark Leonard’s views are always adventurous and stimulating – and “Why Europe will run the 21st Century” sustains those attributes. It also confirms that, in useful contrast to the unilateralist ‘New American Century’ doctrine of US Republicans, Europe’s contribution to the era will be multilateralist. In the age of increased globalisation and intensified interdependence, that has the strength of common sense.’ Neil Kinnock

About the Author

Mark Leonard founded the leading independent think tank The Foreign Policy Centre at the age of 24, under the patronage of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and is now Executive Director of The European Council on Foreign Relations’. When he was only 23, Mark wrote the famous pamphlet, ‘Rebranding Britain’, coining the phrase ‘Cool Britannia’. He has written regular commentary for all the leading newspapers and magazines, has presented the BBC' Analysis programme, and has appeared as a commentator on CNN and on all of Britain's most prestigious news programmes (from Today and Newsnight to the Jimmy Young Programme and Start the Week). Mark was named by the Sunday Times as one of the 500 most influential powerful people in Britain. He is 31 years old.


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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tareq W. Muhmood on 25 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I can understand the claim that this book is a biased positive perspective on Europe's outlook, though which book does not have a biased perspective? This was a highly enjoyable read, and although you may not agree will all points of view, they are well worth listening to. The picture of Europe's influence is one of constructive seduction of countries to behave in an orderly and democratic manner.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 18 April 2006
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book as reading material to help me with a pro-EU essay and I have to admit that it was reasonably useful for that purpose. Its basic premise is interesting, that the EU's way of doing things is ultimately the best one, but it really doesn't progress much beyond repeating this basic argument, with occasional other positive comments on the EU thrown in for good measure. If you want to massage pro EU feelings that you already hold, or to gain an insight on a different point of view to your own, then this book may hold some interest. But if you are contemplating a choice of books on the EU my advice is that there are plenty of better books out there.
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful By "partial_flaw" on 27 May 2005
Format: Paperback
"...we will see the emergence of a 'New European Century'," claims the final paragraph of the book. "Not because Europe will run the world as an empire, but because the European way of doing things will have become the world's." This ending sums up Mark Leonard's attitude pretty well, if the unambiguous title didn't do that already. Unfortunately, the book is not much more than pro-EU propaganda, and this is being said by someone who is generally more in favour of the European Union than against.
The last paragraph is what annoys me the most. The book may not support old-fashioned imperialism, but Leonard's attitude is little more than a modern rehash of it, in which the economically prosperous countries of Western Europe once again have little to learn from the rest of the world, but must, through example and coercion, teach its ideology to everyone else. At one point near the end, Leonard mentions the rise of China, now often (rightly or wrongly) touted as the world's next superpower, and with the characteristic and laughable smugness that runs through the entire book suggests that a more powerful China, enlightened by European philosophies, could be used as a tool for spreading the EU's methods and ideals further.
Quite a few of the ideas in the book are not wrong. Europe's ideals regarding foreign policy, shaped by the devastation of wars on its own soil, are generally wiser than the attitudes of George W Bush and the politicians in the United States who have little regard for the lives of people in other countries that are not of much economic benefit to them. There is indeed a lot that the rest of the world can learn from Europe's present and past when building a better international future.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Eckley on 30 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
Reading the weighty list of acknowledgements at the back of this book (politicians, academics, think-tanks and an army of researchers) you could be forgiven for thinking the preceding pages contained a substantive and well-balanced critique of the European Union, backed up with a considerable body of evidence. You would be mistaken though. Leonard would have better entitled this book "Why the United States will not run the 21st century". It is a largely speculative and anecdotal commentary along the lines of writing by populist authors such as Will Hutton (who incidentally endorses the book). What it fails to do is make any note-worthy comment on the European Union, and seems instead to get side-tracked with a considerable bout of Bush-bashing, and a lengthy discussion on the so-called `Eurosphere' - wildly suggesting that the EU should and will expand to 50 or more states, encompassing Africa and the Middle East. In this book I had hoped to find some pro-European comment to help balance the mass of Euroskeptic material available, but was sorely disappointed. His attempts to address issues such as the loss of sovereignty amount to saying "well it was going to happen eventually", and with regards to the democratic deficit in the EU institutions he simply refers to a mysterious `democratic revolution' without actually bothering to say what this means. To his credit he makes some broad-reaching and interesting comments on the future of regionalism, but it lacks clout and evidence to support it, and ends up being nothing more than baseless speculation. My search for a substantive pro-European argument continues.
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 April 2006
Format: Paperback
I was suspicious of this book. Usually a good read doesn't need a trendy cover and a catchy title to sell itself and it was no surprise to read that Mark Leonard is a public diplomacy expert. But if only the inside was as good as the outside! It's not a bad book by any means, just one that feels like it was written in a hurry and with only one fundmanetal point to make. Yes, you guessed it, Europe will run the 21st century.

Firstly, this came as a surprise to me. Leonard overlooks the fact, but in a way the EU has an inferiority complex vis-a-vis the US and spends a lot of its time comparing itself to it and trying to be more like it. Witness the Lisbon Agenda or the Constitutional Convention or the ESDP. What's more, while Leonard is right to assert that the EU can successfully promote itself as an institutional model, this would be far less likely were it to attempt to do so economically or politically speaking. Leonard seems to overlook our stalling economies, high unemployment, unsustainable pension and healthcare systems, as well as the fact that "soft power Europe" is proving just as inept at dealing with current international "problems" such as Iran's nuclear ambitions or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as is "hard power" USA. Quote Foucault and Valery all you want, but I reckon the EU is about as likely to "run the 21st century" as Britney Spears is to run for President.

So, I disagree with the thesis. The people whose work Leonard is building on, such as Robert Cooper and Joseph Nye, make less bold claims of the EU and are all the better for it. I'm sure they also sell far less books. And that's the problem here for me. Leonard clearly knows what he's talking about, but in essence everything he says someone else has said before. And said it better.
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