That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present
By Robert and Isabelle Tombs
Alfred A. Knopf Press, 2007, 816 pages

Reviewed by Avis Bohlen

The ancient rivalry between France and Britain is, as recent events remind us, the most enduring and influential relationship within Europe. Overshadowed during most of the cold war by the crucial Franco-German tie, the motor which drove European construction, the Anglo-French quarrel exploded with full force during the bitter run-up to Iraq in 2003. The enlargement of the European Union and the defeat of the Constitutional referendum in France in 2005 spelled the end, at least for now, of a certain idea of Europe which France supported and Britain opposed. At the heart of both debates are long-standing Franco-British differences about the relationship with the US and the future shape of Europe. But the bitterness and animosity of these debates are hard to explain without reference to the past.

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Boeing versus Airbus: The Inside Story of the Greatest International Competition in Business
By John Newhouse, Knopf, 272 pages
Reviewed by Robert Herzstein

“Politics is like baseball: You have to be smart enough to understand the game, but dumb enough to think it’s important.”
—Eugene McCarthy

In the large civil aircraft industry, too, you have to be a player, or a semi obsessive fan, to appreciate the day-today moves and posturing within the big airplane producers and the hundreds of companies and government entities that interact with them.

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Überpower: The Imperial Temptation of America
By Josef Joffe, W. W. Norton, 256 pages
Reviewed by Joëlle Attinger

The anecdote is apocryphal but telling. A German high school student writes her local newspaper to complain about the growing number of belligerent black squirrels that are threatening the local species—“Americanization in the animal kingdom,” she claims angrily. Never mind that most American squirrels are gray and that there are still ample numbers of their German kin. If it’s negative, then it must be American.

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The Next Superpower?
The Rise of Europe and Its Challenge to the United States

By Rockwell A. Schnabel with Francis X. Rocca
Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, September 2005
199 pages

Cowboy Capitalism: European Myths, American Reality
By Olaf Gersemann
Cato Institute, Washington DC, 2004 (Paperback 2005)
260 pages

Reviewed by James Harding

An ambassador steeped in the fraught Transatlantic debate recently offered his reflections on George W. Bush’s Washington and the divided West. Sir Christopher Meyer, a former British ambassador to the United States, spiced his memoir with vivid, if veiled, observations of the private parts of not one, but two prime ministers. DC Confidential offered recollections of John Major in his underwear and of Tony Blair in corduroy trousers that “appeared glued to the groin.”

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Free World: America, Europe and the Surprising Future of the West
by Timothy Garton Ash
Random House,New York, 2004.
286 pages

Reviewed by Helle Dale

Is there still such a thing as the West? At the height of the disagreements over Iraq in 2002-2004, that question was posed over and over by visitors to America from Europe, whether they were journalists, students or officials. Some Americans, too, wondered whether we still hailed from the same planet, what with Europeans being from Venus and Americans from Mars, in the snappy phrase of U.S. foreign policy expert Robert Kagan. The war in Iraq became the overarching symbol of a host of other differences between Europeans and Americans, great and small - over issues ranging from the Kyoto Protocol to the death penalty, gun laws and religion - that had grown into full bloom in the absence of a common enemy after the fall of the Soviet Union.


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