Synopses & Reviews
In September 2001, Europeans might have felt comfortable thinking that Al-Qaeda was only a scourge to the United States; some indulged in the unkind speculation that the United States had only itself to blame for 9/11. That innocence is now gone in the wake of attacks in Madrid and London. Since then Europe has oscillated through a range of stances in relation to Islamist terrorism, varying from country to country and across the political spectrum. In Freedom or Terror, Russell A. Berman offers an analysis of Europe’s ambivalence toward jihadist terror and the spread of aggressive Islamism, with particular emphasis on the European responses—or lack thereof—to Islamist terrorism.
Berman describes how some European countries opt for appeasing and apologizing for terror, whereas others stand up for freedom. In individual chapters he examines the responses of England, France, Germany, and the smaller nations: Belgium, Holland, and Denmark. He also analyzes the dialectic of genocide and terror in Bosnia. Each country addresses the issues in light of its particular institutions and national history. Ultimately, the author argues that the European responses to Islamist terrorism involve the confrontation of contemporary postmodern European culture with the extremist values of jihadist radicals. Whether Europe is truly up to the challenge will only become clear in the struggles of the next decade.
An analysis of Europe’s ambivalence toward jihadist terror and the spread of aggressive Islamism, with particular emphasis on the European responses—or lack thereof—to this profound threat to modern democracy.
In his analysis of Europe's ambivalence toward jihadist terror and the spread of aggressive Islamism, with particular emphasis on the European responsesor lack thereofto this violent anti-modernism, Russell A. Berman describes how some European countries opt for appeasement and apologetics, whereas others muster the strength to defend their way of life and stand up for freedom. He describes a complex continent of different nations and traditions to further our understanding of the range of reactions to Islamism.
About the Author
Russell A. Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Berman specializes in the study of German literary history and cultural politics. He is a member of both the Department of German Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford. From 1992 through 2000 he served as director of the Stanford Overseas Studies Program. He is currently chair of the Department of Comparative Literature.
He is the author of numerous articles and books including Enlightenment or Empire: Colonial Discourse in German Culture (1998) and The Rise of the Modern German Novel: Crisis and Charisma (1986), both of which won the Outstanding Book Award of the German Studies Association (in 1987 and 2000, respectively). Hoover Press published his book Anti-Americanism in Europe: A Cultural Problem (2004). His other books include Cultural Studies of Modern Germany: Representation and Nationhood (1993), Modern Culture and Critical Theory: Art, Politics and the Legacy of the Frankfurt School (1989), and Between Fontane and Tucholsky: Literary Criticism and the Public Sphere in Wilhelmine Germany (1983). He has published numerous articles in Hoover Digest.
Berman has received many honors and awards including a Mellon Faculty Fellowship at Harvard University (1982– 83), an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1988–89), and the Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic of Germany (1997).
Berman received his B.A. in 1972 from Harvard and his doctorate from Washington University in 1979.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Fouad Ajami
1. European Values and Islamist Violence: Decadence Meets Force
2. England: Rights and Traditions
3. France: Terrorism and the Republic
4. Germany: Memory and Modernization
5. Belgium, Holland, Denmark: Terror in Small Nations
6. Bosnia: Genocide and Terrorism
Suggestions for Further Readings
About the Author
About the Hoover Institution’s Herbert and Jane Dwight Working Group on Islamism and the International Order