The End of the West, The Once & Future Europe by David Marquand

Public Square

2011 David Marquand, The End of the West, The Once and Future Europe

End of the West

One of Financial Times ( non-fiction favourites of 2011 in the Politics          category 

Has Europe’s extraordinary postwar recovery limped to an end? It would seem so. The United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Italy, and former Soviet Bloc countries have experienced ethnic or religious disturbances, sometimes violent. Greece, Ireland, and Spain are menaced by financial crises. And the euro is in trouble. In The End of the West, David Marquand, a former member of the British Parliament, argues that Europe’s problems stem from outdated perceptions of global power, and calls for a drastic change in European governance to halt the continent’s slide into irrelevance. Taking a searching look at the continent’s governing institutions, history, and current challenges, Marquand offers a disturbing diagnosis of Europe’s ills to point the way toward a better future.

Exploring the baffling contrast between postwar success and current failures, Marquand examines the rebirth of ethnic communities from Catalonia to Flanders, the rise of xenophobic populism, the democratic deficit that stymies EU governance, and the thorny questions of where Europe’s borders end and what it means to be European. Marquand contends that as China, India, and other nations rise, Europe must abandon ancient notions of an enlightened West and a backward East. He calls for Europe’s leaders and citizens to confront the painful issues of ethnicity, integration, and economic cohesion, and to build a democratic and federal structure.

A wake-up call to those who cling to ideas of a triumphalist Europe, The End of the West shows that the continent must draw on all its reserves of intellectual and political creativity to thrive in an increasingly turbulent world, where the very language of “East” and “West” has been emptied of meaning.

David Marquand has been a member of the British Parliament, an official of the European Commission, and principal of Mansfield College, University of Oxford. He is a fellow of the British Academy and the author of many books, including Britain since 1918.


“One of the many virtues of David Marquand’s The End of the West, a book that carefully documents the gap between the EU’s ambitions and its achievements, is that it explains exactly why EU politics are so tedious. . . . [I]t provides a crisp and relevant analysis of the difficult choices that Europe faces.”–Henry Farrell, The Nation

“A sweeping new assessment of the continent’s drift. . . .”–The Guardian

“[Marquand] the grand old pro-European is on to something when he pokes an inquiring finger into the question of what modern Europe wants to be. . . . [T]his highly readable book offers a compelling description of Europe’s modern malaise.”–Anne McElvoy, New Statesman

The End of the West is a bracing and timely work, no doubt about it.”–European Voice

“This is a text with compelling questions, not one with definite solutions. What makes it fascinating is the forthright and dispassionate examinations of crucial problems. As Europe faces, in the months and years ahead, the formidable tribulations generated by the global downturn, it is the wider issues delineated in Marquand’s The End of the West that should be probed, examined and argued with.”–Donald Sassoon, Political Quarterly

“A committed pro-European’s brilliant, timely analysis of what is wrong with the European Union.”–Vernon Bogdanor, Times Higher Education Supplement

“This brief but trenchant contribution to the vast literature on the European Union stands out through the author’s imaginative way of setting the EU’s current dilemmas and tribulations firmly in the context of Europe’s cultural and historical heritage as a whole. He offers specific solutions only to some of today’s huge problems, but in general he indicates most constructively the lines on which solutions should be sought.”–Roger Morgan, Times Higher Education

More reviews

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Ruth O’Brien ix
Acknowledgments xiii

Chapter I: Prologue 1

Chapter II: Weighing like a Nightmare 27

Chapter III: Hate–and Hope 67

Chapter IV: The Revenge of Politics 102

Chapter V: Which Boundaries? Whose History? 141

Notes 179
Index 189

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by David Marquand:


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