In This Review

France and European Integration: Toward a Transnational Polity?
France and European Integration: Toward a Transnational Polity?
By Michel R. Gueldry
Praeger, 2001, 256 pp

This excellent tour d'horizon for the "enlightened public" offers not only a balanced, well-informed review of French institutions, the role of the French state after World War II, and French social, monetary, and security policies. It is also a convincing study of how European integration has transformed the old Jacobin concept of the state, sovereignty, and "Colbertist" economic policy. The clash between the "Republican" model of the unitary, centralized state and the EU's laissez-faire economic policies -- not to mention its quasi-federal institutions, diffusion of sovereignty, and enforcement of European law over national law -- has led to a "new meaning of Frenchness." This cultural transformation of citizens and parties has also formed, according to Gueldry, a "new fault line" among and within French parties. The book's many merits include readability, a useful comparative approach, and a remarkable familiarity with complex issues and the writings about them.