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Cancel That Order of Freedom Fries?

Over at Reason’s “Hit and Run” blog, Matt Welch conducts a highly unscientific survey of pro- and anti-Europe books. After checking the Amazon sales rankings for the most significant titles in “that whole F***-France publishing boomlet,” he’s not terribly impressed: Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America’s Disastrous Relationship with France is the most popular of the bunch, and it’s all the way back at #31,014. Meanwhile, he observes, titles focusing on Europe as the next superpower are on the rise. The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream is up to #10,013 and The United States Of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy is at #16,059.

Of course, there’s a substantial flaw in this analysis: Apart from the fact that Amazon.com only represents a minor portion of all book purchases, its sales rankings aren’t accumulative data, and will only tell you how well a book has performed over the last seven days. Although nobody cites that as a cause for doubt, Reason readers are still treating the “results” with quite a bit of skepticism. “None of them are selling very well,” observes one commenter. “The only thing that this proves is that there are more left-wing pointed-headed intellectuals then there are right-wing pointy-headed intellectuals.” Another reader points out that by Welch’s standard, we shouldn’t even be bothering ourselves about Europe, since books like China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World are easily outpacing his selections.

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