Such writings make me wonder whether the authors ever perused the continent’s statistical yearbooks, read the letters to editors in more than one language, checked public opinion polls, walked through the postindustrial wastelands and ghettos of Birmingham, Rotterdam, or Milan, or simply tried to live as ordinary Europeans do. A perspective offered by the author, a skeptical European who understands the continent’s major languages, who has lived and earned money on other continents, and who has studied other societies should provide a more realistic appraisal. Of course, this does not give me any automatic advantage in appraising Europe’s place, but it makes me less susceptible to Euro-hubris and gives me the necessary Abstand to offer more realistic judgments.