The countries of Europe are as diverse as they are prosperous. Of the top 15 countries in the Social Progress Index, 11 are in Europe. The people generally enjoy the benefits of democracy and free market economies and some of the highest standards of living in the world.
Europe has a long history of conflict and war, and lay in ruins by the mid-20th century after two world wars. In rebuilding the devastated continent, the leaders tried to end the death and destruction once and for all by banding together. In 1993 the dream became a reality with the creation of the European Union, a political federation and common monetary zone.
Still a work in progress, the European Union faces challenges in environmental issues, treatment of immigrants and minorities, unemployment, coordinating a common defense, and balancing between the wealthier nations of the north and the poorer countries of the south and former Soviet Union states. Each title in this series contains a forward from the Executive Director of the Social Progress Imperative, color photos throughout, maps, charts, and back matter including: a special "Countries at a Glance" statistical section, an index, and further reading lists for books and internet resources. Key Icons appear throughout the books in this series in an effort to encourage library readers to build knowledge, gain awareness, explore possibilities and expand their viewpoints through our content rich non-fiction books. Key Icons in this series are as follows: Words to Understand are shown at the front of each chapter with definitions. These words are set in boldfaced type in that chapter, so that readers are able to reference back to the definitions--building their vocabulary and enhancing their reading comprehension. Sidebars are highlighted graphics with content rich material within that allows readers to build knowledge and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Text-Dependent Questions are placed at the end of each chapter. They challenge the reader's comprehension of the chapter they have just read, while sending the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research Projects are provided at the end of each chapter as well and provide readers with suggestions for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. And a Series Glossary of Key Terms is included in the back matter containing terminology used throughout the series. Words found here broaden the reader's knowledge and understanding of terms used in this field."
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