The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe Are Alike

The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe Are Alike

by Peter Baldwin


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There is much heated rhetoric about the widening gulf between Europe and America. But are the US and Europe so different? Peter Baldwin, one of the world's leading historians of comparative social policy, thinks not, and in this bracingly argued but remarkably informed polemic, he lays out how similar the two continents really are. Drawing on the latest evidence from sources such as the United Nations, the World Bank, IMF, and other international organizations, Baldwin offers a fascinating comparison of the United States and Europe, looking at the latest statistics on the economy, crime, health care, education and culture, religion, the environment, and much more. It is a book filled with surprising revelations. For most categories of crime, for instance, America is safe and peaceful by European standards. But the biggest surprise is that, though there are many differences between America and Europe, in almost all cases, these differences are no greater than the differences among European nations. Europe and the US are, in fact, part of a common, big-tent grouping. America is not Sweden, for sure. But nor is Italy Sweden, nor France, nor even Germany. And who says that Sweden is Europe? Anymore than Vermont is America?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199836826
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 10/01/2011
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Peter Baldwin is Professor of History at the University of California-Los Angeles. He is the author of Disease and Democracy: The Industrialized World Faces AIDS, Contagion and the State in Europe, 1830-1930, and The Politics of Social Solidarity: Class Bases of the European Welfare State, 1875-1975.

Table of Contents

1. The Economy
2. Health Care
3. The Rest of the Welfare State
4. Crime
5. More Broadly
6. Education and the Higher Pursuits
7. The Environment
8. Civil Society
9. Nationalism
10. Religion and Science
11. Assimilation
12. Lumping and Splitting
13. A Meeting of the Twain?
14. Separated at Birth?
15. The Post-Facto State
16. How the West Was One
17. Acorn and Oak

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