Philipp Ther

The New Order on the Old Continent - A History of Neoliberal Europe

Philipp Ther
Foto: Philipp Ther
© Barbara Mair/Universität Wien

Professor Philipp Ther (born 1967) lectures Modern European and East European History at the University of Vienna.

He has already published five books in English, and his publications have been translated into various other languages.

He has received several prizes and awards, including the John-F-Kennedy Fellowship at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University (in 1997/98) and the 2012 Translation Award of the German Book Trade Association (Börsenverein des deutschen Buchhandels) for The Dark Side of Nation-States: Ethnic Cleansing in Modern Europe.

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English world rights (Princeton University Press), Spanish world rights (Plaza & Valdés), Poland (Kurhaus), Czech Republic (Libri), Bulgaria (KX Critique & Humanism), Ukraine (Laurus Press)

Leipzig Book Fair Award 2015

#1 on the Non-Fiction Best Book List (Sachbuch Bestenliste)

»Poor backward Eastern Europe has ceased to exist … whereas poor but sexy Berlin has become proverbial. ... Welcome to the new Europe.«*


In 2014, Europe is in the grip of concerns and crises that have caused the optimism of 1989’s new beginnings to fade into distant memory. The New Order on the Old Continent explores correlations between the current situation in Europe and the new dawn arising after the fall of the Iron Curtain by shedding a different light on the end of communism, the revolutions of 1989-91 and the subsequent political and social transformations that gave rise to the »new Europe«. Current transformations are analyzed, not within the confines of Eastern Europe, but as a phenomenon affecting all EU Member States.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it gave rise to an experiment of tremendous proportions that affected all of Europe: the nations that used to form the Eastern Bloc were molded to fit the neoliberal order pervasive in Western Europe and thus subordinated to the regime of privatization and liberalization. The book’s accounts draw not only on a wealth of data, archive research and medial sources but also on the personal experiences of the author. Philipp Ther witnessed the historical transformations firsthand, be it on the streets of Prague, where he observed the “velvet revolution”, or in Poland and Ukraine, where he lived and worked for several years. Additionally, Ther draws conclusions about the current situation of the Southern European states (lived in Italy from 2007 to 2010) and the general condition of Europe. Not only are these experiences interwoven with the narrative, making this one of the most compelling books on contemporary European history, its upswings and crises since the 1980s, but with this book Ther also delivers a historical account of The New Order on the Old Continent – and for the first time a comprehensive analysis from a pan-European perspective.


*From »Poor Berlin, Boomtown Warsaw: The transformation of Central European cities since the 1980s«, talk held at Harvard University, 18.11.2013, manuscript available upon request)


»The New Order on the Old Continent achieves a very distinctive history of the present: a history of our present. One that is more understandable after reading this book.« from the Jury's Statement at the Leipzig Book Fair Award 2015

» [...] Philipp Ther's beautiful and smart book about the new order on the old continent« Welt

»Ther's book reveals Eastern and Western Europe's grand delusions.« Der Freitag

»Ther depicts these complicated events meticulously, precise, and with great style and coherence.« ZEIT

»Philipp Ther doesn't deliver a rash condemnation of neo-liberalism, but endeavours to create a balanced depiction of the processes set in motion by neo-liberal politics in Eastern Europe. His arguement is supported by good empirical evidence, differentiated between the countries and identifies the differences between neo-liberal rhetorics and the actual, relatively pragmatic, course of action taken, for example, by the former Czech president Vaclav Klaus.« Deutschlandfunk

»This galvanizing book is not a plea for a shock treatment, but opens up the possibility to learn from the experiences and crises of the period that is coming to an end.« Süddeutsche Zeitung

»Ther's book is a work of art in contemporary historical scholarship that manages to exhibit the events of the past in their subjective experience without trivializing their objectivity.« ParisBerlin | Magazin für Europa

»Everybody concerned with Central and Eastern Europe should make this book compulsive reading.« vorwaerts.de