The European Union is the most ambitious, and one of the most contentious, international organizations ever created. Decisions made in Brussels shape the lives of over 500 million Europeans, and its laws and policies resonate around the world. But how has the EU endured over three turbulent decades marred by crises at home and abroad?
In this major account, Dermot Hodson traces the development of the EU from its establishment in 1993 through to Brexit, Covid-19, and the invasion of Ukraine. Hodson shows how the union has been held together not by faceless technocrats but national leaders who stood together in times of turmoil despite a fierce backlash from a new generation of right-wing populists. Circle of Stars offers a rich appraisal of Europe’s troubled past and turbulent present—focusing on the people who built the EU as we know it today.
“A glorious new book.”—Alex Andreou, The Bunker podcast
“A fast-paced narrative of the European Union since the 1992 Maastricht Treaty.”—Denis MacShane, Encompass Europe
“A highly original and wide-ranging history of the EU. Hodson skilfully weaves together the national and European stories, focusing on political personalities as makers-of-history, carefully picked from across the political spectrum.”—Luuk van Middelaar, author of The Passage to Europe
“At last a book on Europe that infuses oceanic policy shifts with the personalities who drove the drama, and who for better or worse, forged a European Union that has, against the odds, survived one crisis after another. Circle of Stars is bright with colour and politics, yet does not shirk the hard analyses which the European project must command.”—Tony Connelly, author of Brexit and Ireland
“Hodson’s beautifully written book is a fresh take on the multifaceted story of European integration, bringing to life the personalities and actions of many of the key characters in the drama. This is a must read for anyone interested in the European construction, and how we got to where we are today.”—Simon Hix, coauthor of The Political System of the European Union
“A brilliant account. . . . Hodson once again shows why he’s one of the leading scholars of European integration. In impeccable prose, this contemporary history of the European Union is full of new insights into the central personalities and structural factors that have shaped the dynamics of the EU.”—Matthias Matthijs, Johns Hopkins University & Council on Foreign Relations
“Full of anecdotes and colourful personalities, this lively account covers not only the political leaders who have shaped Europe, but the rock stars, cheap flights and festivals that brought Europeans together across borders.”—Heather Grabbe, author of The EU’s Transformative Power: Europeanization Through Conditionality in Central and Eastern Europe