Alarums and Excursions: Improvising Politics on the European Stage


Product Details

Agenda Publishing
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.3 X 1.2 inches | 1.35 pounds

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About the Author

Luuk van Middelaar is a historian and political theorist. In his role as a speechwriter and close advisor to the president of the European Council (2010-15), van Middelaar witnessed the political theatre of Europe from the front row. He is currently a professor at the Europa Institute of Leiden University. His previous book, The Passage to Europe (winner of the 2012 European Book Prize) has been translated into more than ten languages. He was advisor to the acclaimed BBC programme, Inside Europe: Ten Years of Turmoil (2019).


Quite simply the most insightful book on Europe's politics today. A unique blend of behind-the-scenes knowledge, compelling ideas, and powerful political judgement. History is back, not as a script, Luuk van Middelaar shows, but as a living entity, and the choice is ours: do we want to play or be played? The book is a great toolkit, not only for a better performance of Europe's political actors, but also to cope with the cheers and booing of the European public.--Donald Tusk, president of the European Council
Brilliant treatise.--Christopher Hill "Times Higher Education "
A brilliant series of case studies that illuminate different points in the creation of a new European political theater unscripted by the innumerable treaties and rules that created the EU as we know it today.--James McAuley "New York Review of Books "
Part insider memoir and part commentary, this is probably the best analysis yet to appear of how the EU managed its recent crises over refugees, Ukraine, and the euro.--Foreign Affairs
Refreshing and perceptive. . . . Van Middelaar is a more thoughtful guide than most to these [EU] institutions and events, in part because he brings the eye of a political theorist to his years working for the European Council president.--Financial Times