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Understanding the European Union: A Concise Introduction (The European Union Series) Paperback – 11 Apr 2014
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Review of earlier edition:
"[A] very useful text...Among hundreds...about the phenomenon of European integration, this book stands out as one that really tackles the complexity of the economic, political and legal systems of the EU succinctly." - Giedrius Surplys, Journal of European Affairs
Fully revised and updated, this best-selling textbook provides a broad-ranging but concise introduction to the EU, covering all major aspects of European integrationSee all Product description
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John McCormick approaches these themes from the academic discipline of comparative politics and public policy. He serves up each chapter with a brief introduction, then the meat, followed by a conclusion which doubles as a summary of sorts. Coverage of each theme is to the point and well-structured.
A reviewer of this book on the American Amazon.com-site writes that McCormick uses easy language. But if, like me, you're not used to reading academic texts on political systems and/or international organisations, you may disagree. It's not a light read and calls for concentration, partly because of McCormick's fairly academic writing style, partly because of the complex topic, and partly because a lot of info is condensed into a relatively short book.
A worthwhile read if you want to move (well) beyond the rough but incomplete understanding of the EU you'll get from just reading papers and magazines.
My only criticism is that beware despite its appearance as a guide, it is written by someone who clearly believes in the EU project and the destruction of the nation state. Criticism of the EU project is discussed in the book but largely dismissed; it could have (and probably has) been written by a UK Liberal Democrat.
So in conclusion, by all means read this book but don't take it as your sole reference point.