The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

60%

6 Critic Reviews

Learned and well-considered, but if indeed Western liberal values are in danger of extinction, readers may seek more urgency.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

"Insightful and harrowing . . . lucidly expounds on the erosion of the West's middle classes, the dysfunction among its political and economic elites and the consequences for America and the world."―Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

In his widely acclaimed book Time to Start Thinking, Financial Times chief US columnist and commentator Edward Luce charted the course of America?s relative decline, proving to be a prescient voice on our current social and political turmoil.

In The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of liberal democracy―of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a terrifying symptom. Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society's economic losers, and complacency about our system's durability―attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall. We cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Unless the West can rekindle an economy that produces gains for the majority of its people, its political liberties may be doomed. The West's faith in history teaches us to take democracy for granted. Reality tells us something troublingly different.

Combining on-the-ground reporting with intelligent synthesis of the literature and economic analysis, Luce offers a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration, the rise of European populism, and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.

 

About Edward Luce

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Edward Luce is a graduate from Oxford University in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He worked as a speech writer for the treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, worked as the South Asia bureau chief for the Financial Times, and is based in Washington DC as the Financial Times Washington columnist and commentator. He was formerly its Washington bureau chief. He is also the author of In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern Indiaand Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent.
 
Published June 13, 2017 by Atlantic Monthly Press. 226 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy, Business & Economics. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Retreat of Western Liberalism
All: 6 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Above average
on Apr 18 2017

Learned and well-considered, but if indeed Western liberal values are in danger of extinction, readers may seek more urgency.

Read Full Review of The Retreat of Western Libera... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Benjamin Knoll on Jun 27 2017

While the diagnosis of the decline of Western liberal democracy is somewhat unpersuasive, the Luce’s predictions about the potential consequences are more compelling.

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Washington Times

Below average
Reviewed by Aram Bakshian Jr. on Aug 15 2017

Readers should bear in mind that the “western liberalism” that he admires and sees retreating into decline is not identical with what many Americans have in mind when they use the word liberal...The result is a work that is thoughtful but not always well thought-out in a coherent way.

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The Economist

Above average
on Jun 22 2017

A more analytical book might have spelled out further what exactly liberal democracy is, how to tell when it is going right and how it differs from capitalist competitors across the globe. At rapid pace and with telling statistics, Mr Luce nevertheless gives a knowledgeable tour...

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by FAREED ZAKARIA on Jul 25 2017

The West faces many problems, and Luce outlines them vividly. But it has enormous reserves of wealth, talent and energy with which to solve them. Luce adumbrates some solutions himself, in a thin last chapter...

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Jun 19 2017

Luce’s conclusions are pessimistic but not entirely devoid of hope. “The West’s crisis is real, structural and likely to persist,” he writes. “Nothing is inevitable. Some of what ails the West is within our power to fix.”

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