All posts tagged: Ascherson

Becoming European | Neal Ascherson

Becoming European | Neal Ascherson

Why a “personal history”? Why not just a “history” of Europe in the postwar and post-Wall generations, or (if you like) during the long interval between George Patton’s tanks and Vladimir Putin’s? The answer is that if you are English, there is still a deep-down need to explain why you identify as European. Timothy Garton Ash is profoundly English, and the core of his most recent book, Homelands, is the narrative of his own emotional formation—of his transition from enjoying Europe’s thrilling but “foreign” diversity, its sheer difference from stolid old Angleterre, to a passionate identification with this region that has become for him what Mikhail Gorbachev used to call “our common European home.” As such, Homelands is really three things. It’s an account of “the European project” and its unsteady experiments with unity. It’s a subjective tale of the author’s encounters and self-discoveries. And—in effect—it’s a long reflection about British attitudes toward the worlds beyond the Channel. Garton Ash was a schoolboy when he first went abroad alone, to France in 1969, leaving behind …