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Racism in Europe 1870 - 2000 by Neil MacMaster

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Racism in Europe by Neil MacMaster

Racism in Europe by Neil MacMaster

MacMaster's argument is entirely convincing throughout Parts 1 and 2, and in Part 3 he continues his tracing of anti-black and anti-Semitic racism up to the modern day. The result is a forty-page segment that deserves to shock many readers: it should be required reading in schools and governments across Europe and North America. MacMaster argues that the anti-black racism of the 1930's has mutated into a new anti-immigrant ideology which not only includes and masks many older hatreds, especially anti-Semitism, but which is also supported by the serving governments of the Western World.

Although MacMaster's construction of an ideological chain is much less convincing than in earlier chapters - possibly a consequence of his word limit - Racism in Europe's final third is strong and thought provoking. The inclusion of modern material, some dating from the year 2000, may expose the author's historical work to the attacks which will undoubtedly be aimed at his interpretation of recent politics, but his discussions of the past, as found in Parts 1 and 2, are solid enough to cope.

Overall, Racism in Europe is an excellent book that deals clearly with a complex subject, combining subtlety and deft with a balanced handling of the issues. MacMaster has examined the introduction of modern racism across the whole of Europe - although there is a slight bias towards western states - with solid explanations, a recognition of regional variations, and an absence of simplistic generalisations. The book is certainly not for everyone, as the author's focus on ideas rather than details, and his higher level vocabulary, will alienate some readers. However, most people with an interest in human thought, whether historical or modern, will find the author's conclusions highly illuminating, even if at odds with their own.
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