European Integration

European Integration : A Concise History

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A fully revised and updated edition of Surpassing Realism: The Politics of European Integration Since 1945, this book remains the standard for concise histories of the European Union. Mark Gilbert offers a clear and balanced narrative of European integration since its inception to the present, set in the wider history of the post-war period. Imperial decline and decolonization, the threat and then fall of communism, the impact of American policy, and the democratization of the Mediterranean and central European countries are just some of the contemporaneous historical developments whose intersecting stories have been woven into this book's fabric. The European Union remains a remarkable experiment in regional cooperation, but the aura of success that has enveloped the process of integration for much of the period since the 1950s is dissipating in the wake of dire economic collapses and heated immigration debates. Gilbert concludes by examining the mood of crisis that has taken hold in the EU since 2005 and considers the Union's future.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 292 pages
  • 162 x 239 x 25mm | 553g
  • Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Revised, Updated ed.
  • 0742566633
  • 9780742566637

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enemies to Partners: The Politics of Cooperation in Western Europe 1945-1950
Chapter 3: Ever Closer Union: From the Schuman Plan to the Economic Community 1950-1958
Chapter 4: In the Shadow of the General: De Gaulle and the EEC 1958-1969
Chapter 5: Weathering the Storm: The EC during the 1970s
Chapter 6: The 1992 Initiative and Relaunch of the Community
Chapter 7: The Maastricht Compromise
Chapter 8: EUphoria?
Chapter 9: Toward a Twin-Track Europe?
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Review quote

In this polished and perceptive work, Gilbert covers the evolving integration of Europe since 1945. He seeks successfully to establish context and to show the contingency of events, rather than to prove a theory. Key focus is given to the views and roles of major national leaders. The author is thus neither intentionally Eurofederalist nor Eurosceptical, but is certainly more cautious about integration than in his Surpassing Realism (2003). In particular, Gilbert argues that European integration may well have reached its limit, given both the diversity across countries and public opinion in most member states. The book is quite up-to-date (through 2011), thus including the current economic and debt crisis. Although a historian, the author is entirely familiar with the relevant political science literature. The book also contains both a chronology and a useful bibliographical essay designed as the basis for an undergraduate history course. While there are many books on the history of European integration, this one stands out for its insights, balance, and quality of writing. It is a pleasure to read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. * Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews * An incisive history of European integration that incorporates the doubts, hesitations, and contradictions of integration as well as its successes. Emphasizing the determination of member states to defend their formal sovereign rights while engaged in the process of integration, Mark Gilbert illuminates the complexity of European integration, including its current malaise and uncertainties. The introduction of the Euro resulted in an unexpected and very powerful dynamic, one that may lead to much deeper integration-or to its severe fraying. This history, beautifully written, is a must-read for both the amateur and the expert. -- Alberta M. Sbragia, University of Pittsburgh Mark Gilbert is a perceptive and thoughtful observer of the history of the integration process. His text is hence an excellent starting point for those coming fresh to the subject and seeking a book that will not only explore what happened and why but also connect this process with the wider evolution of Europe and the wider world since 1945. -- Piers Ludlow, London School of Economics Mark Gilbert's book escapes the twin mythologies of Eurofederalism and Euroscepticism to provide a balanced, well-crafted, clear-cut, and yet comprehensive historical account of the complex, often twisted paths of European integration up to the present. It illuminates the moments of inspired political leadership, no less than the retreats and imperfect compromises, in a narrative that includes the international as well as domestic roots, stimuli, and constraints that built the Europe in which we live. Integration here comes alive neither as neat design nor preordained fate but as the lively, messy historical outcome of converging, and yet diverse and often conflicting, views, interests, and responses to ever-shifting challenges. -- Federico Romero, European University Institute Mark Gilbert has written a lively and balanced book on an intricate, difficult, and often contentious subject. At a time when European integration is approaching a crucial stage, Surpassing Realism deserves the widest possible readership. (Previous Edition Praise) -- Philip M. H. Bell, University of Liverpool A highly readable and lucid account of the EU's institutional development from the early postwar years to the present. One of the best general histories of the EU currently available. (Previous Edition Praise) -- Michael J. Baun, Valdosta State University Honest, detailed, balanced, thoughtful. This is really a worthwhile addition to the genre. -- Michael J. Lynch, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
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About Mark Gilbert

Mark Gilbert is resident professor of international history at SAIS Europe, the Bologna Center of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. He is the 2018 Chair of Jury for the Cundill History Prize.
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13 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
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