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📙 The European Union: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by John Pinder — free epub


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. But the EU is not going away, my friends, and increasingly the USA will be compelled to negotiate/cooperate/imitate/integrate its economy and policy with it. The EU may be a much younger sibling of the USA, in terms of federal constitutional government, but it represents a vastly more mature civic tradition in every other way. The book could be more lucid, though in fact the structure of the EU is inherently imprecise and ruled by tacit gentlemen's consensuses, not unlike the 'unwritten constitution' of the UK. And I suppose it could be more entertaining without losing its integrity. That's why I'm giving it only four stars. Nonetheless, I strongly recommend it.

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