Just like Dinesh D’ Souza’s What’s So Great About Christianity, Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolutions in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West is another book I discovered thanks to an Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought This” recommendation. After reading the book’s positive reviews from both readers and assorted publication I made a quick mental note to read the book sometime in the near future. As luck would have it, one day I while exploring the shelves at my public library I found Caldwell’s 2009 book sitting there daring me to take it home. After reading the back cover and seeing the book praised by such notable authors as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, P. J. O’ Rourke and Niall Ferguson I immediately felt compelled to read Caldwell’s book. I’m glad I did.
Invoking the spirit of Edmund Burke’s 1790 conservative manifesto Reflections on the Revolution in France, Caldwell, a Financial Times columnist as well as senior editor of the conservative publication The Weekly Standard has produced a very well written and intelligently reasoned analysis of the ongoing tension in Europe between native non-Muslims and Muslim believers. While a number writers, mostly conservatives, have weighed in on this issue, Caldwell excels where his most of his fellow conservatives have fallen short. Instead of narrowly concentrating on a few “pet” issues, Caldwell takes a “big picture” kind of approach, complimented by his generous detail in describing various individuals who each in their own way make up a larger continental or even global mosaic of the unfolding political, social and religious crises, (I was especially intrigued by his sympathetic but insightful treatment of current French leader Nicolas Sarkozy and his rise from mayor to parliamentarian to eventual president). To his credit, Caldwell’s book is intelligently argued and considerably well researched. It is far cry from the screaming lies and half-truths echoed by the Glenn Becks, Sarah Palins and Christine O’Donnells of the American Far Right.
Regular readers of my blog, (if there is any- LOL), know I enjoy reading books by writers of varying political persuasions. Be it liberal or conservative, I’ve always felt that intelligent writing and insightful analysis can be a pleasure to read and a feast for the mind. I’m happy to say that Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe is that kind of book.