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Free World: America, Europe, and the Surprising Future of the West

Ash, Timothy Garton

133 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1400062195 / ISBN 13: 9781400062195
Published by Random House, New York, 2004
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
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First edition, stated; first printing, full number line. Signed by author Timothy Garton Ash in black ink above his byline on the title page. Book is square and unmarked; corners sharp, tail of spine bumped. The dust jacket is not price-clipped; Brodart protected. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000607

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Free World: America, Europe, and the ...

Publisher: Random House, New York

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition

About this title


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.

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.”

A compelling manifesto for the enlargement of freedom and a new era of world politics."

“Timothy Garton Ash has long been among the world’s wisest writers on Europe and America. Now, at a pivotal moment in relations across the Atlantic, he offers us a brilliant analysis–practical, without illusions, original, sparklingly well-written, and, above all, inspiring.”

“This is an important book, refreshingly positive yet without pulling any punches. Free World demonstrates that the Transatlantic West remains the key to a better world for all–but that much will depend upon whether the EU defines itself as a partner, or as a frustrator, of America. Learn and be stimulated. You will enjoy the reading.”

“Not content with offering a brilliant analysis of today’s world, Timothy Garton Ash shows us what we must do to make the world a better place. He also tells us why it is reasonable to believe that this much-needed change is possible. This is a book that will inform, encourage, and even inspire readers everywhere.”
–PETER SINGER, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University

“Timothy Garton Ash is one of the most astute observers of Europe and its relationship with the United States. In this important book, he dissects the currently troubled Atlantic relationship, places it in a broader global context, and provides a sense of hope for the future. He writes with grace, wit, and lucidity.”
–JOSEPH S. NYE, JR., author of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics


Colossal events such as the fall of France during World War II or the dismantling of the Berlin Wall create seismic shifts in geopolitics. Alliances are broken or forged. Power and influence are redistributed. According to Timothy Garton Ash, author of Free World: Why a Crisis in the West Reveals the Opportunity of Our Time, the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent war in Iraq have produced such a crisis in the West. French and German opposition to America's war have signaled a severe rift between these one-time staunch allies and have raised questions about European identity, the role of Britain in this struggle, the direction of U.S. foreign policy, and most important, the spread of freedom and democracy to the poor and voiceless millions in the developing world.

France's attempt to become the voice of the European Union and to defy the will of the U.S. marks a departure from an age-old power structure. Or does it? In clear and engaging prose, Ash, an expert on European-American relations, places the crisis in a historical context dating back to the Second World War. Ash maintains that the future of the West depends on the EU's choice between Gaullism (Europe as "not-America"), or Churchill-style Atlanticism (Europe as a partner of the U.S. with England providing the bridge between the two). At the same time, the world's hyperpower, the U.S., must decide if it will continue to pursue unilaterally its foreign policy of self-interest combined with a Wilsonian edict to spread democracy, or embrace the kind of transatlantic interdependence that already exists in the business world. Wisely, Ash cautions against oversimplification and effectively deflates the myth that there is one America or one Europe. He shows that "There are not two separate sets of values, European and American, but several intersecting sets of values." Therefore, he urges cooperation between these two great powers. Only then, says Ash, can the West reverse its potential decline and spread its legacy of democracy and freedom to the "unfree" world. --Silvana Tropea

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