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The European Union: A Very Short Introduction Paperback – January 10, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (January 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199233977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199233977
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 4.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

`Even a quick flick through to look at the pictures is illuminating' Independent Weekend Review,26/05/01 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author


John Pinder, OBE, is an Honorary Professor at the College of Europe, Bruges and Natolin, and Chairman of the Federal Trust, London.
Simon Usherwood is Lecturer in Political, International, and Policy Studies at the University of Surrey.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mariano Castañeira on December 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
It is a good book. If you are looking for an introduction without getting into long theoretical discussions. The merit of this book is its simplicity. It tells the story of the European Union without leaving any of the main topics out. It reads easily. Has a few very useful charts and photographs. Its up to date, year 2001; I could not find another book that would bring the reader up to the launching of the Euro! The only reason it does not get five stars is that it is only a short introductory study and as a consequence it lacks depths, otherwise its a great book!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Pinder launches into this short commentary with the in-depth historical foundation of the EU's formation. This is well brought up to date with the reasons for, and the outcome of, the different recent European Treaties. This is a must for anyone - who, like me, has/had a limited understanding of an important topic. A good concise introduction.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James V. Holton on May 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Pinder does a good job at taking a complex subject and distilling it to its essential elements. It won't surprise readers of this publisher that the author's perspective is almost entirely British. The author is also very favorably disposed toward the EU and does not provide "equal time" for the other side. That is his prerogative, of course, but it does not detract from the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on December 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Most Americans know more about the operation of the Starship Enterprise than about the structure of the European Union. More of the history of Hobbitland than the history of the EU. Sorry, folks, if this seems to be a snarky generalization or a denigration of your electoral capacities! It IS a blatant generalization, but deep in your hearts, can't you admit that it's true? In any case, here's a book that will slip into your purse or pants-pocket and still leave room for your passport -- 200 pages, roughly 3" x 5" -- which will bring you up to speed on America's most important diplomatic and economic partner. It's not a gracefully-written book; the prose is what you'd expect from two professors of Political Science. But it's concise, well documented, forthright in its 'federalist' sympathies, and fair to the positions of those Europeans who are not entirely pleased with the evolution of the EU.

Possibly the chapter titles will offer some idea of the scope of this 'short introduction':
1) What the EU is for
2) How the EU was made
3) How the EU is governed
4) Single market, single currency
5) Agriculture, regions, budgets: conflicts over who gets what
6) Social policy, environmental policy
7) "An area of freedom, security and justice"
8) A great civilian power ... and more, or less?
9) The EU and the rest of Europe
10) The EU in the world
11) Much accomplished... but what next?

Uf ta! That's a lot of stuff for such a tiny book! You'll have to expect it to be dense and difficult. You'll have to tax your memory from chapter to chapter, because there's no space for reiteration, and you'll have to keep you thumb on the page of alphabetical abbreviations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marvin D. Pipher on May 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book describes the sequence of events by means of which the European Union (EU) was contrived from the time of its inception immediately following World War II up to the time of the book's publication in 2007. The word "contrived" is used here because it best describes the manner in which the Union of 2007, as portrayed in this book, was cobbled together. Its use is not intended to disparage either the political elitists who created the Union or this book's authors. For in reading about the process one can only marvel at the fact that the European elitists were able to create, compromise, adapt, jury-rig, and keep the Union together at all, let alone expand it; and equally impressive is the fact that this book's authors were able to outline that arduous process as well as they did in such a small book as this. For the most part, I found the book to be both interesting and informative; and it gave me a much greater appreciation for the difficulties involved in the EU's creation and maintenance, a few of which surprised me.

To illustrate: I didn't know that the Union owes its beginning, at least in part, to fear on the part of France that Germany might one day regain its pre-WWII strength and once again dominate France and Europe; leading to this attempt to constrain Germany and tie it as closely as possible to the rest of Europe. I did know, however, that the EU was created solely by "treaty," i.e. without popular vote, but I was surprised that these authors seemed to downplay that fact although it was apparent throughout the book. And, although it was mentioned in passing that the EU's Constitution was put up for a popular vote only twice --- once in France and once in the Netherlands --- failing both times; I was surprised that this fact was glossed over so quickly.
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