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Reviewed by:
  • Communicating Europe: Journals And European Integration 1939–1979 ed. by Daniele Pasquinucci, Daniela Preda, and Luciano Tosi
  • Desmond Dinan
Communicating Europe: Journals And European Integration 1939–1979, edited by Daniele Pasquinucci, Daniela Preda, and Luciano Tosi. Bern, Peter Lang, 2013. 610 pp. $137.95 US (paper).

This book is a treasure trove for readers deeply interested in the history of European integration. Its thirty-three chapters explore the ways in which various political parties, civic groups, and other entities disseminated information on and ideas about the European unity movement from the 1940s to the 1970s. Given that the publication came out of a conference of the Italian university association for European studies (uase-ecsa Italy), it is not surprising that the vast majority of chapters deal with the situation in Italy. Other chapters cover France, with a stray chapter on Spain and on the coverage of European politics in the American journal Foreign Affairs, from 1976–1979. Most of the chapters are in English; the rest in French.

The book has all the strengths and weaknesses of having originated in a large conference. Some chapters are very narrow in scope; others very broad. Some are too long; others surprisingly short. Most are written by academics; a few by practitioners. Footnotes are copious and full of interesting information.

The organization of the book is haphazard, reflecting the sheer variety of topics covered. The chapters, which are not numbered, are arranged in four sections, which seem arbitrary. There is redundancy and overlap. For example, the chapters by Angelita Campriani, on information outreach by the European Communities in the 1950s and 1960s, and by Fabio Casini, on the launch of the Joint Press and Information Service (1958–1960), could have been combined. Inevitably, Campriani devotes a number of pages to the work of the new Joint Service, without reference to Casini’s succeeding chapter on the subject.

The problem would seem to be a lack of editorial oversight and direction. The introduction for such a long and wide-ranging book is short — only four pages. Moreover, it is written by only one of the editors (Tosi). The book does not have a concluding chapter. In view of the plethora of [End Page 587] organizations and publications mentioned in the book, a glossary, a list of abbreviations and acronyms, and an index would be extremely useful. In short, the book is less an edited volume than a conference proceeding.

The publication is nonetheless highly valuable. A number of substantive points emerge. These include the bitter disappointment of federalists with the incremental progress toward European unity in the 1950s, a theme that recurs in a number of chapters. What looks in retrospect to casual observers like a series of great leaps forward for the European movement — the Schuman Declaration, the launch of the European Coal and Steel Community, the launch of the European Economic Community — looked at the time to European federalists like a series of setbacks. The greatest disappointment came with the collapse of the proposed European Defense Community and the concomitant European Political Community. These initiatives, hugely ambitious in political reach and policy scope, appeared to herald a major breakthrough on the road to European unity. With their collapse, European integration reverted to a functional economic approach, with national governments in the ascendant. The European movement split into “the intransigent Italian position and the moderate German-Dutch position” (p. 36), reflecting a federalist-intergovernmental divide.

Another striking theme is the significance of the first direct elections for the European Parliament, held in 1979. As mentioned in several chapters, European federalists put great store in this long-anticipated event, hoping that it would spur supranationalism and curb intergovernmentalism in the European Community. Once again they were disappointed, though Altiero Spinelli formed the Crocodile Club and crafted the “Draft Treaty Establishing a European Union” on the strength of the 1979 elections. Spinelli’s relative success in the first directly-elected Parliament epitomized the experience of federalists in the history of European integration: making the best of a less-than-ideal outcome and tempering idealism with a dose of realism.

The book lays bare not only doctrinal disputes among advocates of European unity, but...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2292-8502
Print ISSN
0008-4107
Pages
pp. 587-589
Launched on MUSE
2015-12-18
Open Access
No
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