Europe’s Leadership Famine
Representative democracy endured in Europe because its political leaders’ deviousness and self-advancement were balanced by altruism, fortitude and civic virtue. However, in this century, the reputation and calibre of politicians has slumped in country after country, as fads, image, process, triviality and spin are promoted over experience, prudence and long-term outcomes. National leadership roles are increasingly filled by inexperienced careerists, who are disconnected from the people on whose behalf they are supposed to rule.
This book examines the careers, formative experiences, outlooks and intentions of twenty European leaders, from Tito to Macron, from Merkel to Zelensky, in five thematic sections, from The Cold War through identity politics and renewed war in Europe. Most of these leaders left their countries weaker. A small number at times sought to defy networks of power or patterns of thought that have diminished Europe and corroded democracy.
Tom Gallagher is a Scot who pursued an academic career as a historian in England for over three decades and is currently Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Bradford. He lives in the Lake District and travels widely in Europe and further afield.
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