“The essential difference between Europeans and Americans,” says Hoover fellow Dennis L. Bark, “is found in how Europe and America were built—from the top down and from the bottom up.” In Americans & Europeans: Dancing in the Dark (Hoover Press, 2007), Bark draws on his personal and business experience, as well as his knowledge of Europe gained from education and research, to discuss the complex relationship between America and Europe, a relationship he fears is deteriorating and in danger of slipping away.
This book, consisting of seven essays in three parts, is a consideration of the differences and affinities, and interests and habits of life, between Americans and Europeans. In part one, “Continental Contrasts,” Bark expands on his view of the essential difference. “This difference is part of the heritage that shapes our views of the world, as seen from our respective backyards,” says Bark.
The effect of the essential difference on our modern interests is discussed in part two, “Qualities of Life.” Bark notes that contemporary contrasts are most jarringly apparent when we speak about our concepts of equality, opportunity, and stability and in how we view the purpose of competition and assess the propriety of free and open markets.
The final part, “Freedom and Order,” examines the future of our undertakings, both separate and joint. In particular, in the essay titled the “Fly in the Soup,” Bark examines how the historical and economic differences between Americans and Europeans produce conflicting interpretations of the paths that best lead to freedom and peace.
Bark, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is a historian and political scientist in the field of European studies. He writes and lectures on European affairs and the transatlantic relationship, with special emphasis on France and Germany. Among his recent works is Reflections on Europe (Hoover Press, 1997), an edited volume, to which he contributed the essay "The American-European Relationship: Reflections on Half a Century, 1947/1997." He is also author (with David Gress) of The History of West Germany, vol. 1: From Shadow to Substance, 1945–1963, and vol. 2: Democracy and Discontents, 1963–1991 (Basil Blackwell, 1993). With Annelise Anderson, he coedited the volume Thinking about America: The United States in the 1990s (Hoover Press, 1989).
Americans & Europeans: Dancing in the Dark
by Dennis L. Bark
ISBN: 978-0-8179-4802-3 $15.00 (paper) $25.00 (cloth)
302 Pages August 2007