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History of the European Union

An audio course on the Origins and Development of the E.U.
Narrated by: Richard T. Griffiths
Length: 3 hrs and 57 mins
4 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Summary

Richard Griffiths invites the listener to look closer at the history and the underlying reasons behind the main developments of European integration. He passionately presents a history that is richer and intellectually more satisfying than much of the elegiac literature on the European union that passes for history. A solid and humorous account on the making of the union.

Content:
  • Chapter 1: The First Supranational Community: The European Coal and Steel Community,
  • Chapter 2: A Missed Chance: The European Defence Community,
  • Chapter 3: The Creation of the European Economic Community: The Rome Treaties,
  • Chapter 4: Reactive Nationalism? De Gaulle and Europe,
  • Chapter 5: Reactive Nationalism? The British Membership Problem,
  • Chapter 6: 1992. The Completion of the Internal Market,
  • Chapter 7: The European union. Economic and Monetary union,
  • Chapter 8: A Family of Twenty-five. EU Enlargement.


PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2004 Home Academy (P)2004 Home Academy

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No great insights

Nothing much I didn’t know about the history of the EU before listening to this audiobook.Also,it’s a bit outdated.No mention at all of the referendum in 2016 regarding UK membership of the EU.Overall,I’m a bit disappointed.

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Trite, predictable, disappointing

This seems to be a series of lectures recorded by a British 'academic', recorded live in front of Dutch students. It's a digitisation of a set of CDs used as a learning resource – which dates it to being at least a decade old or more.

In terms of content it's far from definitive – although to be fair there are some small nuggets of information that I didn't know. I was thankful for small mercies...

My problem with it was that it reminded me why I hated doing my Masters Degree in politics, all those years ago. The lecturer is straight out of 'academic' central casting – a kind of latter-day 'History Man' from Malcolm Bradbury.

He's achingly left wing (but not in an authentic Tony Benn, Barbara Castle or Peter Shore way), and sneers at everything "the British" did and whilst fawningly explaining the apparently sound and honest logic behind the behaviour of France, Germany, Holland, Italy and Belgium. Apparently whenever the UK acts in its national interest it is "nationalism", whereas the same doesn't apply to any other country – it's perfectly fine for them to act in their respective national interests.

Worse still are the silly voices that our "historian" does when reading out speeches by Thatcher and others – Monty Python-style. Surprisingly, the likes of Charles de Gaulle don't get the same treatment.

I can see myself aged 21 being impressed by this and thinking the lecturer is "cool" – but at well over twice this age I found it cringeworthy. Style is tediously predictable and substance is further lessened by some schoolboy errors. Apparently the 66%-34% majority to stay in the EEC in 1975 was "a three-to-one majority"!

Sigh. Never let a Humanities graduate near numbers...

I digress.

I had high hopes, but am very disappointed. All this does is show the conceit that's endemic in academia – and how academics wing it so much. Apparently opponents of the EU are all evil right wing Daily Mail reading nationalists, such is the groupthink. You might as well listen to James O'Brien on LBC, if you want this sort of narrative. The lectures are basically a few key historical dates pulled off Google plus a shed load of boiler-plate middle class left wing invective.

I would instead point readers towards a much classier commentator, namely Robert Tombs. He has superior insights into the social, cultural and historical reasons for the UK leaving the EU. No sneering condescension, either.



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  • Michele
  • 31-12-19

This is how the EU came to be.

Brexit made me want to understand how the EU came to be. This book also shows how the seeds of Brexit were planted long ago. The book also makes living in the EU look more attractive, Brexit notwithstanding.