Politics and Science in Disguise: Not Quite the History of European Integration
Middelaar, Luuk van, De passage naar Europa. Geschiedenis van een begin (Dissertatie Universiteit van Amsterdam 2009; Groningen: Historische Uitgeverij, 2009, 531 blz., ISBN 978 90 6554 236 6).
In his De passage naar Europa. Geschiedenis van een begin [The Passage to Europe: History of a Beginning], Luuk van Middelaar makes European integration intelligible by applying a distinction between three spheres – the states, the community and the intermediate sphere of the Member States – to various events that have proven crucial in ‘the making of’. These events form passages that have made Europe what it is today; as well as what it is not.
Van Middelaar’s writing is sensitive and inspired; his perspective is open-minded; the cases are well-documented (but not always adequate); and his book is innovative, as he introduces political/theoretical terminology into history, combined with insights from political science. He could even have gone further in narrowing the disciplines gap, however, and he has not always avoided the traps of history writing. In any case, he succeeds brilliantly in his ambition ‘to tell another story about the birth of political Europe’ (9; author’s own italics).
This review is part of the discussion forum 'De passage naar Europa. Geschiedenis van een begin' (Luuk van Middelaar).
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