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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - a stylish and well-presented introduction.
This is a superbly written précis - ideal for those with only a basic understanding of the complexities of the European Union - and an excellent springboard to more thorough books on the subject. The author is knowledgeable and opinionated, but generally able to present his work in an unbiased manner, without overburdening the reader with technical details about...
Published on 25 Jun. 2001

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No good for beginners
I'm reading several of the "A very short introduction" titles in preparation for a Politics and International Relations degree. So far I have found the titles I've read really helpful; this one however is not so good! If you're a beginning and just want a basic understanding of the history, make-up and achievements of the EU then this book is rubbish. It launches right...
Published on 10 April 2009 by H. Glaister


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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - a stylish and well-presented introduction., 25 Jun. 2001
By A Customer
This is a superbly written précis - ideal for those with only a basic understanding of the complexities of the European Union - and an excellent springboard to more thorough books on the subject. The author is knowledgeable and opinionated, but generally able to present his work in an unbiased manner, without overburdening the reader with technical details about the various institutions.
For such a short book, it is remarkably comprehensive, including political, economic, legal and historical observations. I particularly enjoyed the presentation of the EU's history, with its emphasis on the characters that have been involved in the development of the EU. Pinder's views on Britain's role are obvious - he is a fervent Europhile - but he is also quick to point out the shortcomings of badly conceived or poorly executed policies in which Britain has played no part.
Given the current political climate, it was a pleasure to read a pro-European book written with authority and style. A far cry from the emotive rhetoric that pervaded the recent election campaign. This is compulsory reading for us all before the promised referendum on Europe.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good source as an introduction!, 3 July 2010
This review is from: The European Union: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I bought this book as an introduction to the EU to compliment a course i'm studying and for formation and brief history of the EU to how the EU is governed, the agriculture policy, social policy and the environmental policy, then this book is useful. The EU is a very broad and for some a confusing organisation to understand but as an introduction and as a quick refernce guide, this book is helpfull!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Critically Relevant, 25 Oct. 2011
This review is from: The European Union: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Putting aside any pro-European biases which username may indicate, this is a "very short" introduction to a mammoth topic. It manages to keep to the format of it's series, and not at any point compromise on depth or quality.

It covers the formation of the EU, the key legislative framework behind it and its main organs. With the recent Commons motion on an EU referendum, and the current EU economic crisis which is threatening the single currency and wider partnership, it is imperative at this time, more than any other, that every citizen of an EU member state is well informed.

At some points, it's readability is certainly suboptimal, but given the relevance of this topic, it is certainly a "must read"
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No good for beginners, 10 April 2009
By 
H. Glaister (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The European Union: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I'm reading several of the "A very short introduction" titles in preparation for a Politics and International Relations degree. So far I have found the titles I've read really helpful; this one however is not so good! If you're a beginning and just want a basic understanding of the history, make-up and achievements of the EU then this book is rubbish. It launches right into it using lots of jargon which is not explained and confuses the reader.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in principle but now, sadly, out of date, 1 Nov. 2005
By A Customer
The EU is a very complex organisation and Pinder provides a clear, structured description, starting with the historical background of the EU's predecessor organisations, moving through its structure and institutions through to key issues such as budget and CAP, and social policy.
His explanation of the difference between a federal approach and inter-governmentalism is particularly interesting to Brits, and he makes the UK's position and actions (and those of others) clear in context.
The principles underlying the EU's creation, development and functioning are clearly explained.
My major criticism, though, is that so much has happened to the EU since the book's publication - the launch of the Euro and the accession of ten further countries in May 2004. These are prospects in the book - what we need is an up-to-date version which describes the impact of these important changes.
Charts of numbers of MEPs (and similar data) by country are of no more than historical interest when they're based on fifteen members. An updated version would get five stars from me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A HND must, 5 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: The European Union: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Very good course work book.
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19 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unclear and unfocused, 14 Feb. 2003
I picked up this book to try and clear some of the confusion that surrounds the EU. Quite simply I wanted to understand what it was all about. As part of the 'Short Guide' series, the aim is to present topics in an accessible and clear way. What better subject than the EU for this series which despite having such a profound impact on our lives, few truly understand. Unfortunately, I was bitterly disappointed. From the word go, the author makes assumptions and far from presenting the topic in a clear and accessible way - he confuses and almost assumes those reading it are elected EU parliamentarians. I was crying out for a definition of some of the jargon in simple, clear english. What is qualified majority voting for example? If your aim is to give an understanding, you can't assume knowledge and just launch into the first chapter bandying it around. In fact, reading this book is similar to reading a dry contract.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfied, 3 Feb. 2012
By 
A. Georgios - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The European Union: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I am a fanatic of the very short introduction series.
I found this one lacking a clear structure in its chapters. The material is presented in a way hard to follow
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7 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Written by a Europhile, 5 April 2011
This review is from: The European Union: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Check out the hilarious 2001 review - "This is compulsory reading for us all before the promised referendum on Europe".

That was ten years ago, and still nothing.

This book is out-dated and is also difficult to read as the author uses big technical jargon /words early in the book. It is a little like a high street Solicitor reading the Lisbon Treaty and throwing his hands up in frustration. Nobody really understood the Lisbon (Constitutional) Treaty, however professional it appeared to be.

Here is the deal with the EU in late March, 2011.
Because there is no money in the UK, the UK cannot afford the army, navy and air force thus there are financial cuts in defence.

Rubbish. There is money................. billions of it available for "EU" causes. Unfortunately those causes do not include the UK and its people. There is ,for example, billions of Brit money ready to help restore bankrupt countries - Ireland, Greece and now Portugal, and perhaps Italy.
All these countries were given billions by the EU in the last 25 years and now (through their own dire incompetence) they are broke. UK taxpayers gave Ireland over 6 billion pound sterling. Ireland asked the EU for more. It received over 80 billion and now it wants more. Message to the Irish- Write a christmas card to your precious 'Celtic Tiger' and ask for that extra 20 billion pounds.
Or simply sing for it.....

And soon another fund, up to six billion, to prop up Portugal. WHy bother?????
Because the EU wants the EURO to survive. Hold on. UK is not in the EURO. Quite right. But Brits still pay for these incompetent countries. Why? Because the EU orders it to do so.

Also, Alistair Darling signed up the UK to massive financial rescue packages to save the euro with British taxpayers cash until 2013. Labours last deed before leaving 10 Downing Street. And the UK also have increased overseas aid by an extra 4 billion (It is now 8 billion each year).....to India, Pakistan etc
Why give money to india? They have a space Programme and a nuclear arsenal which is more powerful than UK nuclear arsenal.

As every aspect of British national life is being cut (NHS, Police forces, Armed Forces and Libraries where old people go during the day cos they cannot afford to heat their houses) and the salaries, allowances, expenses etc of the average Eurocrat increases. Neil Kinnock and his wife earned Over 5 million pounds in the last 15 years as EU politicians.

Fed up yet??????? I am. That is why i live in Bali working as an English teacher.

Billy Ray.

PS. The price of petrol in Bali has not increased in the last 6 years
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