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Reviews

A Terrible Twilight

George Dangerfield’s The Strange Death of Liberal England was published in 1935.  It is an exceptionally well-written book and became a cult classic, its haunting title suggesting a mysterious crime, as in a thriller.  Dangerfield’s theme was the decay of the civilization created by the British Liberal movement in the years that led up to 1914.  Douglas Murray’s book is consciously indebted to its antecedent, and makes a ferociously well-argued case that Europe is now engaged on a parallel course: “Europe is committing suicide.  Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide.  Whether the European people choose to go along with this is, naturally, another matter.”

That challenging exordium states the theme, which Murray pursues with unrelenting tenacity and wide grasp of fact.  The mass movement of peoples into Europe coincided with a loss of faith in Europe’s own beliefs, traditions, and legitimacy: “Europe is now deeply weighed down with guilt for its past.”  This is a fairly recent development.  Half a century ago, “colonial guilt” was not current; it is now widely accepted through sheer repetition as historical and psychological truth.  And yet most adults at that time had no idea of this supposed burden of guilt.  Most people reckoned...

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