Much of the writing on the European Union is highly academic and specialised. The classic book is The Government and Politics of the European Union, by Neill Nugent, published by Palgrave (2006) and now in its sixth edition. It is part of an impressive series that is intended to provide an authoritative library on the European Union, some of the works being the definitive study of their chosen subject, others providing a fairly comprehensive guide and useful references. Nugent’s volume is an excellent work of its type, but inevitably demanding, detailed and excessively lengthy for students tackling the subject for the first time. Desmond Dinan’s Ever Closer Union: An Introduction to European Integration and Ben Rosamund’s Theories of European Integration (Palgrave, 1999 and 2000 respectively) are important components of this series. Again, they are scholarly and immensely valuable.
In the same series is Understanding the European Union: A Concise Introduction (2005), by John McCormick, which is – as its title implies – much briefer. However, its very ‘conciseness’ means that it would not provide sufficient detail to meet the requirements of many candidates in examinations. The same author has also written a well-rated study, European Union: Politics and Policies (2004), for Westview Press. This is a worthy volume, well written, not overloaded with detail, and well geared to its potential audience. It covers history, institutions and policies, but not attitudes of the member states.
E. Bomberg and A. Stubb have co-authored a useful volume for Oxford University Press (2003), The European Union: How Does it Work? This is a very wellwritten study, good (although brief) on history and development and especially strong on institutions. It does not provide any or much coverage of areas such as elections and parties, and is cursory on policies, too. W. Nicoll and T. Salmon, Understanding the European Union (Pearson/Longman, 2001), is comprehensive and provides many helpful references, a book that acts as a useful follow-up on some key aspects of the EU. Much more manageable but less analytical is Dick Leonard’s The Economist Guide to the European Union (Economist Books, 2005).
S. George and I. Bache, Politics in the European Union (Oxford University Press, 2001), covers its chosen ground effectively, but is not the text for someone seeking an overall view of the development of the Union. It is also now rather dated. Steven McGiffen’s The European Union: A Critical Guide (Pluto Press, 2005) offers a critical and partisan perspective on the origins, development and current direction of the EU.
What is lacking is an up-to-date and comprehensive text covering key