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The middle years of the first decade of the twenty-first century were rather rough for the good old Europe. The economic doldrums coupled with a spate of civil unrest, terrorist attacks, and a lot of social uncertainty created a very dire image that was reflected in several books and publications that were published around that time. Many of these books (such as "While Europe Slept," "Menace in Europe," "America Alone," and of course this one - "The Last Days of Europe") had a very stark and foreboding view of the current situation. These books were in part a reaction to an almost pathological refusal by the European intellectual and political elites to even acknowledge that there is a problem, to say nothing about its nature or the possible solutions. At the time of their publication, these books polarized American (and needless to say European) public opinions. However, as I write this review about five years later, heads of states of Germany, France and the United Kingdom had publicly denounced "multiculturalism" as practiced in their societies, and have all called for a greater integration of immigrants. This is a welcome development and a vindication of the views and arguments that had just a few years earlier been dismissed as belonging to the fringe extremist groups. Unfortunately, many of the trends that had been criticized in the above books (most notably the steep demographical decline of most European countries) have been going on for way too long, and there is not even the remotest theoretical possibility that they could be reversed in the foreseeable future.

The misconception that the critical views of the future of Europe come only from the extremists should have been immediately put to rest once one comes across works by Walter Laqueur. A Holocaust survivor and an eminent historian with decades of impeccable academic credentials, Laqueur embodies what a thoughtful and informative social critic ought to be like. He is methodical in presenting his evidence, and one never gets a sense that he gloats over the misdirected policies that he describes and criticizes. Indeed, he comes across as someone who is deeply rooted in all the great achievements of the European civilization, and writes about Europe's decline with a genuine concern and regret.

Laqueur concentrates most of his analysis on three distinct countries: United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Even though it has become fashionable to lump all "Old Europe" countries together, and even European elites are striving to present themselves as speaking form a unified position, the fact remains that the facts on the ground are sometimes drastically different when one takes a closer look at each big European country individually. The profile of immigrants, and especially Muslim immigrants, varies widely as one moves from one country to another. In the UK majority of the Muslim immigrants are from the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh), in France they are predominantly north-African Arabs, while in Germany they are Turks and Kurds. There are a lot of internal tensions between different immigrant groups, and very often their loyalties are foremost with their ethnic group and not with their religious affiliation. Furthermore, the exact level of religiosity, and the extent that it influences immigrant attitude, is highly debatable. This is especially true of the younger immigrants who had been born and raised in their adoptive countries. Laqueur on occasion draws on the examples from Spain, Italy, Russia and a few other countries, but the "big three" dominate his analysis.

One thing that I wish this book spent more time on is the impact of the European social state on all of the other deleterious trends. Laqueur touches upon this topic a few times, and even offers a few ideas that have been circulated around in recent years, but he doesn't strongly endorse any one of them nor does he delve deeper into this topic. This is unfortunate, because a strong case could be made that, if not being the root-cause of many of the problems that are mentioned in this book, then at the very least the various social and economic incentives that have been at work in Europe since the end of the Second World War have at the very least significantly contributed to them. It would be interesting to read a comprehensive critique of the present-day ills that are plaguing Europe which is based on the analysis of the European social state.

Overall, this is an incredibly insightful and informative book on some of the major social problems that are affecting Europe. Despite the grim title, I am still somewhat optimistic that Europe will be able to pull itself from the brink of a precipice. However, decisive actions need to be taken, and taken soon. Hopefully a book like this one can be instrumental in mobilizing hearts and minds for such painful but necessary actions.
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VINE VOICEon 23 June 2007
This book is one of a growing canon of literature concerning how Europe is doomed due to a mixture of a bloated and unsustainable welfare state, demographic collapse, difficulty in assimilating Muslim immigrants and EU corruption. This book is slightly different from other similar titles, such as "America Alone" by Mark Steyn and "While Europe Slept" by Bruce Bawer, although there is over lap between all three.

"Last Days of Europe" is a lot more detailed than the other two, and whilst it heaps scorn on the European welfare state, it's critique is much more detailed and refined than the other two. Similarly, it hesitates to describe street crime by Muslims as being motivated by radical Islamist contempt for their victims, and instead views it simply as street crime divorced from any political or religious agenda. Throughout the author seems to dismiss the notion of a future sharia Europe, although he predicts Muslims would become more politically assertive with possible controlling shares in left wing social democrat parties.

The book also looks at the European Union in more detail than the other two books, and the author's disappointment with the way it functions and treats it's people very apparent. He scoffs at the notion it is a super power in making, and argues that the EU will spend the next few decades struggling to survive, never mind strutting the global stage as a light unto the nations. The author's analysis of Russia in the C21st is the best I have read on the subject so far, and most other authors tend to ignore Russia and instead focus on Western Europe.

The book does have one or two weakness. There is one fairly big factual error (he says Greece joined the EU in 2000, when it had been a member for some time before that) and the author seems to confuse the statistical concepts of birth rate and percentage of births. The author also writes in a gloomy, resigned tone that Europe is on its way down, and offers no solutions at all concerning how to deal with it. Given his knowledge, some opinions on how to deal with this "Apocalypse Europe" would have been very interesting.

All in all, a very strong offering that will be best read and enjoyed alongside "While Europe Slept" by Bruce Bawer and "America Alone" by Mark Steyn, and the reader will find the contrast between the three books on the same topic very enlightening. Highly recommended.
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on 24 April 2008
I have to say that I had kept this book on my wish list for quite a long time before I bought and read it. There was something about the title that seemed a little sentimental and, on this most important current topic, I have a hunger for facts and cool analysis. I was not disappointed!

In a sense, Laqueur covers the same ground as Mark Steyn in America Alone, but without the jokes. This book is not as funny as Steyn but, possibly for that reason, more chilling. It is a very easy read and the analysis is very well organised. He looks at the history of European decline from further back than we might assume. He also examines the present situation in some fine detail that contributed to a more nuanced understanding of the situation regarding the EU and contemporary Islamic influence in Europe. There is a sense of amazement as to how Europe's post war leadership made such incredible assumptions as to allow the present devastating situation to arise with no discussion and certainly no vote.

Then, Laqueur goes on to making predictions. Although he clearly appreciates that a partial Western accommodation with true Islamic practice is impossible, he proposes that, in the end, this is what will happen in Europe in the middle part of the 21st century. The accommodation will happen between a native population that will have no choice and a `Westernised' Islam...perhaps even a secularised immigrant population.

I have my very grave doubts but understand the wishful thinking. This might be a recipe for a peaceful solution but I think it will be a lot more bloody (all round) than that.

An absolutely essential read. One of the best on this subject.
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While the European Union is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding as an economic community, The Last Days of Europe joins a long list of books that warns of Europe's decline, like America Alone by Mark Steyn, Menace In Europe by Claire Berlinski, While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer, Londonistan by Melanie Phillips and The Force Of Reason by the late Oriana Fallaci.

Laqueur's contribution has a resigned and melancholy feel, unlike some of the aforementioned titles. He analyses the current European identity crisis and the rising xenophobia amongst native Europeans with empathy, observing that the average European family today has fewer than 2 children as opposed to five in the 19th century. This decline of the native birthrate is contemporaneous with massive immigration from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The immigrant populations have high birthrates which increase social tensions since the concept of the melting pot is utterly alien to Europe. Immigrant groups have ghettoized themselves and this hostility to the host countries is breeding violence. Nowhere is this more evident than in Brussels, the seat of the EU bureaucracy.

While the threat of radical Islamism increases, Europeans are in full appeasement mode. Following Theo van Gogh's murder in 2004, certain Dutch politicians had to go into hiding. In 2005 there were the riots in France and the Danish cartoon episode, when very few public figures had the guts to defend freedom of speech. The next year the elites declined to defend the Pope's observations on reason and religion. And abroad, Europe has been made a fool of by the Iranian ayatollocracy and its nuclear ambitions.

Laqueur lucidly appraises the continent's 20th century history: how its wars, its murderous collectivist ideologies, and post World War II, its welfare statism and depressing multiculti and relativist cults have drained it of self-confidence. They might stimulate bistro dialogue over decaf lattes, but Foucault, Guattari and Deleuze are no match for the impassioned, expansionist faith of the immigrants.

The author's prescription is nothing new: he recommends stricter controls over the abuse of democratic freedoms by radical preachers and the promotion of integration, meaningful work and better education for the alienated groups. There are signs of these and some ground for hope after the latest German, Swedish and French elections, but these solutions will not work without a spiritual revival.

It is clear that Old Europe especially, is in deep trouble. The most disturbing scenario would be a repeat of the 1930s, by for example the embrace of a charismatic pan-European leader in the face of frightening crises, instead of a return to classical liberal values. Part of the problem is, Europe does not have much of a principled Right, except perhaps the libertarian parties of Scandinavia.

Oriana Fallaci likened the old Italian Right of the Risorgimento to a noble lady that committed suicide - an apt description of the senescent Christian Democrats that have accepted the tenets of welfarism. Thus the welfare state consensus has never been properly challenged except in the UK where Margaret Thatcher positively transformed the country in the 1980s. That is why British society is in a better state today.

For further information on the recent history and the current state of Europe, I recommend Eurabia by Bat Ye-or, The West's Last Chance by Tony Blankly, The West And The Rest by Roger Scruton, Our Culture, What's Left of It by Theodore Dalrymple and The Dragons Of Expectation by Robert Conquest.
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on 22 February 2009
The author's main thesis is that certain optimistic predictions about Europe's successful future are unrealistic because they fail to account for some serious mounting problems. These problems can be summarised as the low native birth-rate, excessive Muslim immigration to Europe, increasing opposition to European unity and the increasingly unaffordable welfare state in a Europe with ageing populations.

The author demonstrates his Jewish perspective by seeing only Muslim immigration as a threat to Europe's future. Although he correctly identifies most conflict as being of an ethnic rather than theological nature, he has next to nothing to say about immigration from the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, indeed, he has a positive view of Latin American immigration even though immigration from all of these non-Muslim sources is leading to exactly the same kind of social welfare abuse, unemployment, street violence and ghetto formation as immigration to Europe from the Muslim world.

The author makes many assumptions he expects us to take on trust. He seems to see increasing European integration under the corrupt, globalist and anti-democratic European Union as a strength for Europe, therefore growing opposition to the European Union as a weakness. Yet all those amongst the native people of Europe fighting their civilisational decline oppose the European Union. The author supposes that the native people of Europe, will continue to appease the aggressive, antagonistic newcomers, yet even at the time of writing, clear signs of growing anger amongst the native people of Europe were becoming obvious. This makes the author's predicted outcome of a slow decline and gradual consensual synthesis of the native and foreign questionable. Is Yugoslavia's break-up a more instructive model? The author doesn't consider the possibility. He also assumes that population ageing makes the necessity of immigration unquestionable. How improving technology will effect the economics of caring for an ageing population isn't considered, neither how gradual population decline could lower the cost of living for example by making accommodation cheaper.

Yet another serious failing of the book is that although it contains a bibliography, it contains no references. This makes the few facts and statistics offered unverifiable and therefore worthless.

Overall, I was disappointed. It's a light, easy read but there's plenty of common sense but very little analysis, very little substantiation of arguments, very little in the way of hard information. There's nothing that's not said better by Pat Buchanan, Sam Huntington and a host of writers specialising in Muslim immigration to Europe. Most of all, the book is hopelessly defeatist.
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on 14 April 2011
Bye bye christian Europeans.
Hello to our Muslim brothers who will take over Europe within the later part of this century.

I welcome Islam. I always wanted four subjugated wives, with plenty of intercourse readily available. For some time now i wanted to read the Muslim Imam's book called "Tufat-ul-Nisa" "Gift to Women" which teaches that a husband could physically beat his wife just as the Koran says if she behaves in certain ways...e.g.
Verse 4:34 Kor'an where- Allah seems to allow the husband to beat his wife, and that is after he gives her two warnings to stop showing ill-conduct and disloyalty toward him.

Years ago Aldous Huxley once joked about how long an orgasm lasts in the Muslim paradise. Today he would get wheeled off to the courts in London, and prosecuted under Racial Hatred Law. However Muslims in London get a fifty pound fine for burning poppies under the same Law.

The last days of Europe (Epitaph for an old Continent) is not as substantial as Christopher Caldwell's similar book - Reflections on a Revolution in Europe.
The last days of Europe contains some alarming facts about mass immigration and birth rates in Europe.

Years ago Yasser Arrafat said that his greatest weapon was the woman's womb. Populations in Muslim communities are increasing; whilst the populations in Christian European countries are decreasing at an alarming rate.

In his book Anthony Browne shows how the politically correct (Politically convenient) avoid the all arguments by attacking people with terms such as "racist", "bigot" instead of addressing the actual argument.

Patrick J Buchanan, senior adviser to 3 American Presidents, wrote
"All about us we can see clearly now that the West is passing away. In a single century, all the great houses of continental Europe have vanished. Not one European nation, save Muslim Albania, has a birthrate that will enable it to survive through the century. As a share of world population, people of European ancestry have been shrinking for three generations. The character of every Western nation is being irremediably altered as each undergoes an unresisted invasion from the Third World. We are slowly disappearing from the Earth. Having lost the will to rule, Western man seems to be losing the will to live...."
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on 15 May 2013
This book over-reaches itself and starts off with a negative conclusion and works back towards it, trying to find facts to fit the conclusion . My feeling is that the author is not as clever as he thinks he is . This is not the ultimate guide to European dillemmas and is a bit one sided in its arguments .
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