EUROPE by Flora Lewis
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There is no question that Lewis, who for seven years has been responsible for the twice-weekly ""Foreign Affairs"" column on the New York Times Op-Ed page, knows her subject. What is equally important here, however, is that in this fact-and-opinion-filled survey of the people and politics, as well as the partnerships and prejudices, of 25 European countries, Lewis has been able to convey her knowledge in prose that is never less than engrossing--that is, in fact, a model of erudition, clarity, and concision. Taking as her theme the changes wrought since WW II, Lewis investigates such matters as the growth of, and what she sees as the gradual waning of, European terrorism; the accommodation such European nations as France and Germany have made to what was formerly detested as American ""Coco-colonization""; the centuries-old internal tensions that still mar relations between Ireland's Catholic and Protestant, and Belgium's Flemish and Walloon, populations. Lewis' is essentially an optimistic view of the potential for change within the European community. She sees a diminution of the appeal of Communism among the European workers, for example, and supports her contentions with convincing, matter-of-fact evidence. In her brief but splendidly evocative ""Concluding Comments,"" Lewis states, ""It is possible that out of the long familiarity with civilization, scarred with the terrible wounds of attempting to defy it, Europe can bring forth a new tempered spirit to comfort the twenty-first century."" Lewis enlivens her text with telling personal details that, while never interjecting themselves obtrusively into the narrative, subtly reflect the author's personality. Recommended for anyone interested in discovering the state of postwar Europe and in discovering glimmers of hope in the often disheartening modern world. Included are a helpful outline of European Institutions and a compilation of ""Brief Facts."" All in all, a notable achievement.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1987
Publisher: Simon & Schuster