Book Review: The Strange Death of Europe by Douglas Murray

 

In the year that terrorist attacks in the UK start to resemble those suffered recently on the European continent, Douglas Murray’s new book, The Strange Death of Europe—Immigration, Identity, Islam, captures the zeitgeist perfectly. For those acquainted with Mark Steyn’s warnings in America Alone, Murray’s work is the bookend. Steyn and many others from Salman Rushdie to Pope Benedict were ignored, this is now the new reality. Murray discusses his book on the Mark Steyn Show for those interested and on a podcast with James Delingpole.

As Steyn notes this is not really a book about Islam, though it is in the subtitle. And while there is a quiet yet deepening anger which builds with Murray’s narrative, one never feels it directed at the immigrants themselves, Islamic or otherwise. It is aimed rather at the politicians, officials and intellectuals who blithely assured anyone who asked that there was nothing to worry about and that you are a bigot to even think about the subject. Murray argues that this is a cultural masochism due to existentialism and a guilt that has so permeated the continent that even neutral Sweden shares the blame for the crimes of the 20th century.

Having traveled all over Europe, speaking with both locals and recent arrivals from Lampedusa to Lesbos and from Malmo to Marseille, Murray writes a vivid account of how a long process culminated in a crisis. There is no lack of pathos for the migrants, refugee or not, but Murray’s main plea is for Europeans who are “losing the only place they have to call home.”

Murray points out that those who dared raise any alarm bells, most notoriously Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech, had their careers ended amidst the worst labels of bigotry and racism, but beyond that it made immigration a taboo subject. Yet had anyone gone so far as to predict the actual British 2011 census results, they would have been laughed at rather than vilified. The French novelist Jean Raspail, who in 1973 envisaged a future armada carrying a million of the Third World’s poor to the Mediterranean shore in Le Camp des Saintes, was similarly hounded from the public square. Murray points out that no matter how crass the novel might be, Raspail’s central point was obscured by the inevitable accusations of thought crime, leaving the unasked question of how would Europe respond? To turn them away would be to deny the humanity that is intrinsic to the European ideal, to accept them would inevitably destroy those ideals. The very question that was posed by the migrant crisis.

Though this book is about Europe, or at least Britain and Europe, it is also a warning to the United States. Murray charts similar feelings of civilizational self-loathing throughout the Western world. In Australia where guilt over the Aborigines has led to the undermining of the national character, a story with echoes in Canada. While Ricochetti will not need Murray’s documentation of similar phenomena in the US, on Jeanine Pirro’s program recently he stated his belief that Europe is much farther down this path and that American ideals still provides some bulwark.

In many ways, The Strange Death of Europe is analogous to Ann Coulter’s Adios America, though aimed at a different readership. While Murray’s refined style has little of Coulter’s chutzpah, they cover much the same ground: The official and media cover-ups, the sense of political correctness gone mad and the disconnect between elite policy and the people. But while Coulter’s contention is of a deliberate and long-standing Democratic Party scheme to change America dating back to Ted Kennedy’s 1965 Immigration Act, Murray argues that there was no equivalent policy in Europe; just a series of misapprehensions and mistakes, though he does show where more recent governments, such as Tony Blair’s, accelerated the process. It remains to be seen whether Murray’s work will have the seminal effect on British politics that Coulter’s supposedly had on American — Theresa May’s snap election coincided with the book release allowing no equivalent time for gestation.

Murray does ask what can be done but his fear, now evident in the Finsbury Park attack, is that we have moved beyond a soft landing. If one were to criticize Murray, and many on the left instinctively will, he makes little of the success stories Britain at least can boast of, especially from the Commonwealth, but this is not really Murray’s point. Whatever the merits of emigres from Jamaica or India, without a confident culture to assimilate into it is a small miracle they have actually managed to do so and a testament to the legacy of empire (sorry chaps but there were some good things, after all you took the best bits…). Murray’s underlying thesis is that with vast holes in the host cultures Islamic immigrants will not adapt to Western mores and Muslims inevitably will not assimilate, whether they are settling in former-colonizer Britain or non-colonial Sweden.

The Strange Death of Europe is certainly popular, the publisher had to hastily order a second print run. Anecdotally I can report that while browsing in my local bookstore, the owner was constantly on the phone informing so-and-so that they’re copy was in and when I got to the counter the last copy was sold to the gentleman in front of me, this was already they’re second batch she told me. Always preferring a hardback, I picked one up about a month later and put it on top of the “to read” pile, returning to the captivating prose of Robert Tombs’s The English and Their History and Von Mises’s Socialism, incredibly relevant given recent British politics. I turned to Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe as a diversion at the end of a day last week and had finished it less than 24 hours later, and I am not the quickest of readers. Riveting, depressing and discombobulating but highly recommended.

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There are 49 comments.

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  1. The Reticulator Member

    Ordered the kindle version just now. Thanks for the review.

    • #1
    • June 27, 2017, at 5:29 AM PDT
    • Like
  2. Hang On Member

    Does he ever get around to why it is strange? Europe dies every few centuries from demographic implosion though in the past it was war and disease. So Europe dying is not strange but a recurring cycle.

    • #2
    • June 27, 2017, at 5:50 AM PDT
    • Like
  3. Matt Bartle Member

    I read something several years ago – there was a debate where one person held that Europe was lost, and the other said no, when push comes to shove Europe will stand up for itself and drive the Muslims out. He imagined boats taking refugees out of Europe back to the Middle East.

    So then someone else commented that one person is basically advocating genocide, and he’s the optimist!

    • #3
    • June 27, 2017, at 5:56 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Mr Nick Member
    Mr Nick Post author

    Hang On (View Comment):
    Does he ever get around to why it is strange? Europe dies every few centuries from demographic implosion though in the past it was war and disease. So Europe dying is not strange but a recurring cycle.

    The strange part is that Europe is doing this to itself. I didn’t put it in the review but Murray makes a point of Angela Merkel’s 2010 speech when she acknowledged that ‘multikulti’ had failed and then five years later insisted ‘we can do this’.

    [edited out the repetition of ‘years’]

    • #4
    • June 27, 2017, at 6:44 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Hang On Member

    Mr Nick (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):
    Does he ever get around to why it is strange? Europe dies every few centuries from demographic implosion though in the past it was war and disease. So Europe dying is not strange but a recurring cycle.

    The strange part is that Europe is doing this to itself. I didn’t put it in the review but Murray makes a point of Angela Merkel’s 2010 speech when she acknowledged that ‘multikulti’ had failed and then five years years later insisted ‘we can do this’.

    That’s easily explained though. 2010 Merkel is in coalition with FDP. 2015 Merkel is in coalition with SPD.

    • #5
    • June 27, 2017, at 6:49 AM PDT
    • Like
  6. Mr Nick Member
    Mr Nick Post author

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Mr Nick (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):
    Does he ever get around to why it is strange? Europe dies every few centuries from demographic implosion though in the past it was war and disease. So Europe dying is not strange but a recurring cycle.

    The strange part is that Europe is doing this to itself. I didn’t put it in the review but Murray makes a point of Angela Merkel’s 2010 speech when she acknowledged that ‘multikulti’ had failed and then five years years later insisted ‘we can do this’.

    That’s easily explained though. 2010 Merkel is in coalition with FDP. 2015 Merkel is in coalition with SPD.

    She is the most obvious example. But it is not just politicians, I’ve lent the book to my sister so don’t have it to quote from but there is one memorable vignette of a Norwegian man who was raped by a refugee/immigrant and then wrote an apology to the offender. The book is not really about the people who are migrating but the strange reactions of the people already there.

    • #6
    • June 27, 2017, at 7:22 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Manny Member

    Looks like a must read. What saddens me is how many people are just so blasé about it. And we still get from both the left and the right about free and open immigration. And don’t think it won’t happen here in the US. What starts in Europe will occur in the US as well, just a few years later.

    • #7
    • June 27, 2017, at 9:01 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Manny Member

    Hang On (View Comment):
    Does he ever get around to why it is strange? Europe dies every few centuries from demographic implosion though in the past it was war and disease. So Europe dying is not strange but a recurring cycle.

    Yes, but now Muslim immigrants are filling the void. That is what is different. Europeans are in a demographic implosion while Muslims are swarming to fill the population.

    • #8
    • June 27, 2017, at 9:05 AM PDT
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  9. Hang On Member

    I wonder whether the author has recanted his neoconservative views.

    • #9
    • June 27, 2017, at 9:05 AM PDT
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  10. Daniel Brass Inactive

    I heard both of his podcast interviews. I have two books to complete before I can read this, but I can hardly wait to get my hands on it.

    • #10
    • June 27, 2017, at 9:08 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. Hang On Member

    Manny (View Comment):

    Yes, but now Muslim immigrants are filling the void. That is what is different. Europeans are in a demographic implosion while Muslims are swarming to fill the population.

    It’s kind of funny, but the Russians back in the 18th century filled a void with Muslims. They were captured in warfare on the steppes. Of course, they made them serfs. But they filled the void.

    • #11
    • June 27, 2017, at 9:24 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Stina Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Yes, but now Muslim immigrants are filling the void. That is what is different. Europeans are in a demographic implosion while Muslims are swarming to fill the population.

    It’s kind of funny, but the Russians back in the 18th century filled a void with Muslims. They were captured in warfare on the steppes. Of course, they made them serfs. But they filled the void.

    Do you have a point?

    • #12
    • June 27, 2017, at 9:33 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Mr Nick Member
    Mr Nick Post author

    Hang On (View Comment):
    I wonder whether the author has recanted his neoconservative views.

    I could not tell you for sure although I detected a lot of Roger Scruton’s influence in this work and he certainly is not a neocon.

    • #13
    • June 27, 2017, at 9:35 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. tigerlily Member

    Thanks for a great book review Mr Nick.I expect I’ll be picking up this book shortly.

    • #14
    • June 27, 2017, at 9:53 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. Hang On Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Yes, but now Muslim immigrants are filling the void. That is what is different. Europeans are in a demographic implosion while Muslims are swarming to fill the population.

    It’s kind of funny, but the Russians back in the 18th century filled a void with Muslims. They were captured in warfare on the steppes. Of course, they made them serfs. But they filled the void.

    Do you have a point?

    If you enslave them, you might be able to live with them.

    • #15
    • June 27, 2017, at 10:01 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Manny Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Yes, but now Muslim immigrants are filling the void. That is what is different. Europeans are in a demographic implosion while Muslims are swarming to fill the population.

    It’s kind of funny, but the Russians back in the 18th century filled a void with Muslims. They were captured in warfare on the steppes. Of course, they made them serfs. But they filled the void.

    Did it help Russia? Not an historian, but I think Russia has had problems with Muslims ever since.

    Actually who has not had problems with Muslims? The list is endless.

    • #16
    • June 27, 2017, at 10:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Front Seat Cat Member

    Mr. Nick – wow! That is a riveting review, and seems to be selling like hotcakes. Your profile doesn’t say where you are from – are you in Europe? I understand the mass refugee issue with the never-ending Syrian war that no one can solve. Those citizens just want to go home – they don’t want to stay in Europe. So solve the Syrian crisis so they can rebuild?

    Then during Obama, he told Central and South Americans to come! When have we ever done that? We were advertising “you’ll get benefits”, so they came! I remember hearing ads. Remember the thousands of children crossing with no parents?? Our builder who employs many Hispanics said they told him they were telling their relatives to come because after Obama, you won’t get in – this was 2014.

    I think it was orchestrated. I can understand genuine refugees fleeing persecution, torture, who integrate and love America. My sister’s little mountain town in Maryland is flooded with Somalians, MS-13 gangs selling drugs in the state park – I think it was part of O’s plan to take down America’s “colonial white privilege” narrative – change the culture.

    We’ve always been a melting pot and benefitted from that, but by following our rule of law. When Europe was sovereign, they seemed to thrive. Trying to make a one-size-fits-all European Constitution has not worked well. They have lost the ability to make decisions based on what is best for each country.

    • #17
    • June 27, 2017, at 10:58 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Mr Nick (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):
    Does he ever get around to why it is strange? Europe dies every few centuries from demographic implosion though in the past it was war and disease. So Europe dying is not strange but a recurring cycle.

    The strange part is that Europe is doing this to itself. I didn’t put it in the review but Murray makes a point of Angela Merkel’s 2010 speech when she acknowledged that ‘multikulti’ had failed and then five years years later insisted ‘we can do this’.

    That’s easily explained though. 2010 Merkel is in coalition with FDP. 2015 Merkel is in coalition with SPD.

    Not for long…it is to be hoped.

    • #18
    • June 27, 2017, at 11:51 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. profdlp Inactive

    Manny (View Comment):
    Actually who has not had problems with Muslims? The list is endless.

    Even the Muslims have problems with Muslims.

    • #19
    • June 27, 2017, at 12:03 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  20. Mr Nick Member
    Mr Nick Post author

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    Mr. Nick – wow! That is a riveting review, and seems to be selling like hotcakes. Your profile doesn’t say where you are from – are you in Europe?

    Whoops. Terribly sorry, it must have got wiped when the move to Ricochet 3.0 (or whatever iteration we are on) happened, I’ll shall go update it. Douglas Murray and I are fellow countrymen, I’m what Mark Steyn might call an “undocumented Ricochetti”. London is my hometown. And thank you for your kind words.

    • #20
    • June 27, 2017, at 12:17 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  21. Manny Member

    profdlp (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    Actually who has not had problems with Muslims? The list is endless.

    Even the Muslims have problems with Muslims.

    LOL, yes!

    • #21
    • June 27, 2017, at 12:58 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. outlaws6688 Inactive

    Conservatives deserve much of the blame for their duplicitous actions on this subject as well.

    • #22
    • June 27, 2017, at 1:10 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. Robert Lux Inactive

    This book bids fair to be the anti “Stitch by Stitch” Claire Berlinski book — you know, the “conservative” editor of a conservative website who has said Europeans who oppose mass Third World refugee immigration into Europe are sociopaths, who accuses those who claim much of Europe will become majority Muslim as “innumerate” (yeah, that be you David P Goldman and Bernard Lewis), who says Erdogan’s rise in Turkey has nothing to do with Islam, who manipulatively and tendentiously conflates post WWII Jewish refugees (oh those Jewish truck drivers and suicide bombers!) with Islamic refugees.

    Oh, and I suppose the kicker, the one who thinks the importation of Muslims into Europe must be increased as much as possible.

    It will be interesting to see if Murray reviews her upcoming book. Also would be edifying if she reviews Murray.

    • #23
    • June 27, 2017, at 1:31 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. Randal H Member

    I’m about 1/3 of the way through the Audible version of this book. My wife is German, so I have an interest from that standpoint, plus the fact that I have friends and an extended in-law family there. Most of the folks roughly my wife’s age (50s) and older are pretty appalled at what’s going on. The younger millennials seem to think it’s great. Of course, they’ve been steeped in “multikulti” their entire lives, so it’s understandable. The consensus seems to be that Germans accept the invasion because of the Hitler period and them not wanting to appear reactionary. That may be true for some, but the younger people are just part of the whole Western leftist viewpoint that people are the same everywhere and it’s because of Western actions corporately that Muslims hate and want to kill us. If we were just kinder to them they’d be kind to us. We’ll see how that plays out.

    • #24
    • June 27, 2017, at 1:33 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. outlaws6688 Inactive

    Robert Lux (View Comment):
    This book bids fair to be the anti “Stitch by Stitch” Claire Berlinski book — you know, the “conservative” editor of a conservative website who has said Europeans who oppose mass Third World refugee immigration into Europe are sociopaths, who accuses those who claim much of Europe will become majority Muslim as “innumerate”

    Can you be considered conservative if you believe this?

    • #25
    • June 27, 2017, at 1:33 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. Robert Lux Inactive

    outlaws6688 (View Comment):

    Robert Lux (View Comment):
    This book bids fair to be the anti “Stitch by Stitch” Claire Berlinski book — you know, the “conservative” editor of a conservative website who has said Europeans who oppose mass Third World refugee immigration into Europe are sociopaths, who accuses those who claim much of Europe will become majority Muslim as “innumerate”

    Can you be considered conservative if you believe this?

    No you can’t. Which is largely why I’ve been off this site for several years. Why she’s not a conservative actually goes deeper. Much deeper. The main malady affecting Europe the last fifty years has been antipathy for the concept of national sovereignty and the nation state, as limned with greatest acuity by Pierre Manent. It’s a type of nihilism. (See Paul Seaton’s excellent current discussion of Manent at Library of Law & Liberty). An abrupt, apolitical leap into a posited, utterly contrived, fait accompli construct of “humanity.” Manent is actually the anti-Berlinski — in fact he’s far more than her match.

    Anyway, being around the Oxford Faculty Lounge is hard to shake off…

    • #26
    • June 27, 2017, at 1:54 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Robert Lux (View Comment):

    outlaws6688 (View Comment):

    Robert Lux (View Comment):
    This book bids fair to be the anti “Stitch by Stitch” Claire Berlinski book — you know, the “conservative” editor of a conservative website who has said Europeans who oppose mass Third World refugee immigration into Europe are sociopaths, who accuses those who claim much of Europe will become majority Muslim as “innumerate”

    Can you be considered conservative if you believe this?

    No you can’t. Which is largely why I’ve been off this site for several years. Why she’s not a conservative actually goes deeper. Much deeper. The main malady affecting Europe the last fifty years has been antipathy for the concept of national sovereignty and the nation state, as limned with greatest acuity by Pierre Manent. It’s a type of nihilism. (See Paul Seaton’s excellent current discussion of Manent at Library of Law & Liberty). An abrupt, apolitical leap into a posited, utterly contrived, fait accompli construct of “humanity.” Manent is actually the anti-Berlinski — in fact he’s far more than her match.

    Anyway, being around the Oxford Faculty Lounge is hard to shake off…

    I disagree, because I think that you can still be a conservative if you disagree with the conservative position on some issues.

    • #27
    • June 27, 2017, at 2:06 PM PDT
    • Like
  28. profdlp Inactive

    outlaws6688 (View Comment):
    Can you be considered conservative if you believe this?

    In my opinion, no.

    Randal H (View Comment):
    …the younger people are just part of the whole Western leftist viewpoint that people are the same everywhere and it’s because of Western actions corporately that Muslims hate and want to kill us. If we were just kinder to them they’d be kind to us. We’ll see how that plays out.

    It will probably take another big war before many of them realize that cultural differences matter.

    • #28
    • June 27, 2017, at 2:08 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. outlaws6688 Inactive

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Robert Lux (View Comment):

    outlaws6688 (View Comment):

    Robert Lux (View Comment):
    This book bids fair to be the anti “Stitch by Stitch” Claire Berlinski book — you know, the “conservative” editor of a conservative website who has said Europeans who oppose mass Third World refugee immigration into Europe are sociopaths, who accuses those who claim much of Europe will become majority Muslim as “innumerate”

    Can you be considered conservative if you believe this?

    No you can’t. Which is largely why I’ve been off this site for several years. Why she’s not a conservative actually goes deeper. Much deeper. The main malady affecting Europe the last fifty years has been antipathy for the concept of national sovereignty and the nation state, as limned with greatest acuity by Pierre Manent. It’s a type of nihilism. (See Paul Seaton’s excellent current discussion of Manent at Library of Law & Liberty). An abrupt, apolitical leap into a posited, utterly contrived, fait accompli construct of “humanity.” Manent is actually the anti-Berlinski — in fact he’s far more than her match.

    Anyway, being around the Oxford Faculty Lounge is hard to shake off…

    I disagree, because I think that you can still be a conservative if you disagree with the conservative position on some issues.

    The death of the west seems like a bad topic to have the wrong position on. Also, I will no longer be a part of any movement that has open borders as one of its tenets.

    • #29
    • June 27, 2017, at 2:12 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. Robert Lux Inactive

    No you can’t. Which is largely why I’ve been off this site for several years. Why she’s not a conservative actually goes deeper. Much deeper. The main malady affecting Europe the last fifty years has been antipathy for the concept of national sovereignty and the nation state, as limned with greatest acuity by Pierre Manent. It’s a type of nihilism. (See Paul Seaton’s excellent current discussion of Manent at Library of Law & Liberty). An abrupt, apolitical leap into a posited, utterly contrived, fait accompli construct of “humanity.” Manent is actually the anti-Berlinski — in fact he’s far more than her match.

    Anyway, being around the Oxford Faculty Lounge is hard to shake off…

    I disagree, because I think that you can still be a conservative if you disagree with the conservative position on some issues.

    The death of the west seems like a bad topic to have the wrong position on. Also, I will no longer be a part of any movement that has open borders as one of its tenets.

    Might want to check out my notes/transcription of Manent’s talk at Harvard a few years ago on the topic of the EU and humanism–good entree into Manent. Was going to use this as part of a post a while back on Manent contra Berlinski:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1175QpkiCAJWIpYIQ2CRvabNXcqn6PMjgKvPjEKDkjq0

    • #30
    • June 27, 2017, at 2:37 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
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