Steven Hill

 

On his book Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way Is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age

Cover Interview of March 31, 2010

In a nutshell

While Europe is considered the “old world,” it is the United States that is actually far older.  The European Union in its current configuration of 27 member states and 500 million people dates back only to 2004.

My book is about a “Europe” fundamentally different from its previous incarnations, reconstructed from the rubble of World War II with America’s generous assistance.  It is the story of how post-World War II Europe has transformed itself from the military warring machines its nations had been for centuries, into a model for how a modern society can develop itself, take care of its people, foster “peace and prosperity partnerships” with its neighbors and region, and do all that in a way that is as environmentally sustainable as possible.  For a decade I traveled widely across the continent to understand this uniquely European Way that, I concluded, has taken the lead in this make-or-break century challenged by a worldwide economic crisis, global climate change and new geopolitical tensions.

Yet these changes mostly have taken place under the radar, misreported by the media and misunderstood by the American public and its leaders. Because modern-day Europe is so new and still in formation, journalists can’t figure out if Europe is a single nation or a confederacy of individual nations.  Increasingly the answer is “both,” confusing many reporters who don’t quite know how to report on Europe because of this duality.  As a result, numerous myths and half-truths about Europe now pass as conventional wisdom, and these myths have clouded Americans’ perceptions and understanding.

Thus, in Europe’s Promise I undertook the task of chronicling and illuminating for readers Europe’s quiet revolution that is proposing a bold new vision for human development at a crucial juncture in global affairs.  A world power has emerged across the Atlantic that is recrafting the rules for how a modern society should provide economic security, environmental sustainability and global stability for its many peoples.  History is in the making, and those paying attention have ringside seats.