Storming the Fortress: How Canadian Business Can Conquer Europe in 1992


279 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 0-00-215986-4
DDC 382'.097104




Reviewed by Edelgard E. Mahant

Edelgard E. Mahant is a professor of Political Science at Laurentian


This book tries to accomplish several different goals but achieves none
of them particularly well. The first six chapters offer a history and
description of the European Community. The racy journalistic style is
refreshing, but tends to conceal as much as it reveals. Readers who do
not already know how the European Community works will probably not
understand it reading these six chapters.

Any major undertaking is bound to involve some minor errors, but this
book contains far too many. Its main failing, however, is a lack of
focus on an audience. If it is meant to be a book of advice to Canadian
businesses who want to get involved in the new Europe, it is very short
on specifics. This problem is compounded by a total absence of
references of any type—which in turn makes the book all but useless to
academics and students. That leaves the amorphous “general public”
and Pitts’s journalist colleagues. But the book is already dated for
journalistic use, and for bedtime or beach reading—or even as
background for, say, a high school social studies teacher—this book
would not do (it provides no diagrams showing the Community’s
institutional structure, no pictures of the frequently mentioned
European Community buildings, and no lists of, for example, the dates of
the European elections or Commission’s members and their portfolios).

Worst of all, Pitts uses his apparent expertise to hazard what appear
to be authoritative predictions about the future. These predictions are
in fact no more than poorly informed assumptions. For example, Pitts
claims that national quotas on Japanese cars “will have to be
replaced” by Community-wide ones. But the Community has more than once
found European disguises for the continuation of national policies, and
may well do so again. Similarly, Pitts says that because of the single
market, Europeans “will have a lot more money to throw around.”
Well, perhaps. But that is what the Canadian government said about free
trade in 1988.

In short, Storming the Fortress: How Canadian Business Can Conquer
Europe in 1992 has many flaws. Anyone wanting to become informed about
the European Community should obtain some of the excellent free
pamphlets produced by the Community. Business people can also get
information from External Affairs. Unfortunately, this book gives
neither addresses nor phone numbers for these sources.


Pitts, Gordon., “Storming the Fortress: How Canadian Business Can Conquer Europe in 1992,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,