Book review: The Strange Death of Europe

Stephen Pollard discussing 'incorrect' home truths


Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe was published last May, six weeks after Khalid Masood used his car as a murder weapon on Westminster Bridge. It became a best-seller — much, presumably, to its many critics’ disgust — and clearly struck a chord.

In his new Afterword, written for this paperback edition, Murray cites a New York Times piece describing the morning after Masood’s Islamist murder spree: “London was, if not quite back to normal, then certainly back in business”.

This is the nub of Murray’s argument, that we — politicians, the media, chattering classes et al — are living in a fantasy world in which everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, apart from the odd, you know, mass murder and the march of Islamism.

In his introduction, he sets out his thesis: “Europe is committing suicide.” Within our lifespan, “Europe will not be Europe and the peoples of Europe will have lost the only place in the world we had to call home”.

Mass immigration into Europe has made it “a home for the entire world” at a time when Europe “has lost faith in its beliefs, traditions and legitimacy… The world is coming to Europe at precisely the moment that Europe has lost sight of what it is. And while the movement of millions of people from other cultures into a strong and assertive culture might have worked, the movement of millions of people into a guilty, jaded and dying culture cannot.” This is a controversial view (if controversy is defined as differing from modern, liberal verities). It can be — and was repeatedly in reviews of his book — dismissed as racism.

But read Murray’s words and take his argument seriously (rather than dismissing it ab initio as beyond the pale, as many chose to do) and you’ll find serious, measured reportage as the foundation of a serious, measured argument.

Instead of recoiling in horror at the new parties that have emerged in Europe as a consequence of mass immigration, he examines why they have emerged, and what that says about how the political classes have ignored voters’s concerns. Worse, they have actively pretended that nothing has changed: “There is an ongoing effort to make European publics not believe the evidence of their own lives.” (And no, understanding the rise of hard-right parties does not mean endorsing them.) Nothing made his case more than the reaction to the book’s publication. Hands were thrown up in horror, abusive adjectives screamed at him. Yet no one has been able to dispute the page upon page of footnoted evidence deployed by Murray to demonstrate that case.

That very denial of reality that Murray eviscerates was demonstrated in the hostile reception to the book. His is one of the few books truly deserving of the label “essential reading”.


Stephen Pollard is the editor of the JC

The Strange Death of Europe

By Douglas Murray

Bloomsbury Continuum, £9.99


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