Reid, a former head of The Washington Post's London bureau, writes not for specialists but for a general American audience that is either uninformed about the European Union or skeptical about its importance in world affairs. He highlights the progress of economic unification, the rise of European anti-Americanism, and European opposition to the death penalty, and his book is useful for its account of the transformation from the original six-nation "little Europe" to today's continental enterprise. But his book is unbalanced by a double dose of omission: he pays insufficient attention to the demographic and economic factors that threaten to undermine the European social model he praises, and to the tension between the imperative of global competitiveness and a strong attachment to a way of life that is largely a reaction against the economic rat race. He also says too little about the problems of expansion and the difficulties that an almost 30-member EU will face in trying to define a common foreign policy capable of influencing or challenging U.S. supremacy. Further integration is likely to create a domestic backlash that goes beyond mere "Euro-skepticism"; the portrait painted by Reid, however, has no shadows.
Get the latest book reviews delivered to your inbox.