Synopses & Reviews
At the start of the 21st century, the West has plunged into crisis. Europe tries to define itself in opposition to America; America increasingly regards Europe as troublesome and irrelevant; and Britain is split down the middle. What’s to become of what we used to call “the free world”?
No contemporary thinker writes with the combination of passion, historical insight, and reportorial brilliance of Timothy Garton Ash, and here he assesses the causes and implications of our current geopolitical quandary–which dates back to the end of the Cold War and is not merely political but existential. The question is not just “What should we do?” It’s “Who should we be?”
In Free World, Garton Ash draws on an extraordinary range of sources: from unique, personal conversations with Bush, Blair, and Schröder to encounters with farmers in Kansas and British soldiers in rural England; from history, memoirs, opinion polls, and sociological research to personal observations based on a quarter century of traveling in Europe and the United States.
The result is a book that explains why Washington can never rule today’s interconnected world alone, why the new enlarged Europe can only realize its aspirations in a larger, transatlantic community, and how the torments of the Middle East and the world’s poor can only be addressed by free people working together. To remain true to itself, the West must go beyond itself. As Garton Ash shows, Americans and Europeans have at hand a unique opportunity to advance from “the free world” of the cold war to a radically new international order of liberty.
And he urges us, with passion that comes from a lifetime of reflection on these issues, to seize that chance. Defying conventional wisdom and eschewing easy answers, this incisive book should be read not just by all those who purport to lead and and inform us but by everyone who wishes to be a citizen of a truly free world.
"A Great Britain caught between America and its Continental neighbors on Iraq and much else commences Ash's look at the 21st-century's strains on relations in the West. As the eminent British scholar and journalist (The File) moves on to the Continent, he echoes several recent critiques of the call for a unified Europe to act as an alternative superpower, citing the 'uneven development' of the European Union. He suggests, however, that the European community still has a vital role to play in advocating the spread of freedom around the world, and looks forward to the day when America treats Europeans as 'full partners in a common enterprise' in doing so. For Ash, that enterprise is largely economic. He calls for a global 'war on want' and urges Western nations to open their borders to trade from developing neighbors; emigrants from undeveloped countries in the Arab world will turn to Europe, he argues, for homes and jobs. He also points to the imminent threat of global warming, which inspires his harshest criticisms of the current American government. The combination of sweeping historical insight with journalistic immediacy, related in Ash's own conversational style, should help this incisive commentary on world affairs stand apart from its competitors. Agent, Georges Borchardt. (On sale Nov. 2)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Free World is a model of common-sense reasoning based on strong empirical evidence. Mr. Garton Ash has given us a readable and worthy argument, rooted in a sense of what is important and what is not and based on as informed and accessible a tour of the global situation as we're likely to have." The New York Times
"Unlike so much of the current rash of books seeking to make sense of the post-Communist world...Free World is totally engaging." Serge Schmemann, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
TIMOTHY GARTON ASH is the author of seven previous books of political writing and the “history of the present,” which have charted the transformation of Europe over the last quarter century. They include The Polish Revolution, The Uses of Adversity, The Magic Lantern, The File, and History of the Present. He is currently director of the European Studies Centre at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His essays appear regularly in The New York Review of Books and he writes a column in the Guardian that is syndicated across Europe and the Americas.