Bobby McDonagh, an Irish diplomat who was deeply involved in the 1997 negotiations that led to the Treaty of Amsterdam, has written a sprightly, candid, and detailed account of the long process that began with the Reflection Group meeting in June 1995 to prepare the Intergovernmental Conference. The reader will gain a clear understanding of the institutional complexities of the European Union, the diversity of views among EU members, and the range of problems facing the EU today. One of the book's virtues is that it is free of jargon. Another is the balanced judgment of the author, who concludes by pointing out the failures of the members (for instance, the inability to establish a common foreign and security policy or conduct institutional reform) as well as the treaty's modest advances. He also makes practical suggestions for the EU's future.