America Alone, by Mark Steyn

In America Alone, Mark Steyn (of National Review, talk radio, and occasionally Fox News) cites various worldwide demographic trends to extrapolate a view of the future geopolitical landscape, particularly with respect to the growth of Islam. Some claims in the book I found notable are -

  • World population will stabilize in 30 years.
  • US population will remain stable as immigration compensates for low birth rate.
  • Russia will cease to exist in a generation, if its population trend continues.
  • Europe is turning Islam.

The latter two are of particular interest for their relation to subsequent books I read. More on that in those reviews.

Now I’ll say up front that I like Mark Steyn’s humor and insight. He’s probably the only journalist I’ll go out of my way to read or hear. One thing he is not, or at least has not been until this book, is a fatalist. That’s what’s disturbing about this book. The happy warrior is here transformed into a gloomy one, his wit not belying an undercurrent of doom reminiscent of the writings of Whitaker Chambers or Russell Kirk from another era.

The theme of the book is how the trends cited above will eventually isolate America as defender of freedom. But of course this was written before the 2008 election, and I suspect that America is about to abdicate that role anyway. Whether her enemies allow her to is another matter.

Neither do I suspect the trends presented in the book, which I don’t dispute, to continue unabated. For instance, Russia’s leaders are certainly aware of their country’s rapid depopulation, and given their increasingly ultranationalist bent, it seems unlikely that they will just quietly sit within Russia’s borders and let their realm devolve into a minor power.

I listened to the unabridged version of the audio book. Disappointingly, Mark Steyn himself does not read the book. The narrator is Brian Emerson, who does a good job, but I missed Steyn’s comedic timing that especially comes across well on radio.

However, the worth of this book to you depends largely on your existing base of knowledge. Nothing against Mark Steyn’s arguments or his style, but I didn’t really learn much from this book. Not that there is a lack of information, but that I was aware of most of it already. And that’s the primary reason I rarely read polemics.

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One Response to “America Alone, by Mark Steyn”

  1. Logus says:

    I read the book myself last summer and was also lightly aware of the premise in part due to the short video that went viral – based apparently on the book. I liked the book and agree with Steyn’s premise overall.

    My one major complaint with his book however was the lack of source material, of footnoting or even a bibliography. While he mentions the CIA and/or the UN once or twice, for those who’re interested in verifying his information, and thus his posit, he would have done well to back up his facts. Instead his book comes off just as you point out, a pessimistic polemical.

    As a conservative Christian who has come to agree with Richardson and others about Biblical eschatology – at least in general – Steyn’s book girds it up.

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