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Europe and Islam

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Publication Date: June 2007

Publisher(s): American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

Author(s): Bernard Lewis

Topic: International relations (International relations)

Keywords: Europe; Islam; Government

Abstract:

This pamphlet is the text of the 2007 Irving Kristol Lecture, delivered at the annual dinner of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2007.

It is sometimes forgotten that the content of history--the business of the historian--is the past, not the future. I remember being at an international meeting of historians in Rome during which a group of us were sitting and discussing the question: should historians attempt to predict the future? We batted this back and forth, with differing, even contrasting responses. This was in the days when the Soviet Union was still alive and well. One of our Soviet colleagues finally intervened and said, "In the Soviet Union, the most difficult task of the historian is to predict the past."