‘Concise, elegant and lucid … A very useful primer on the delusions of an English mentality’ Guardian
What do we get wrong about Britain’s history and its place in the world?
In a brilliant, big-picture history, bestselling author David Reynolds moves beyond the Brexit debate to trace and reassess the defining narratives of Britain’s past. From fluctuating engagement with Europe to the legacies of Empire. From the Acts of Union that forged the United Kingdom to the slave trade, immigration and the special relationship. This is a vital guide to how Britain’s identity was really formed, and what long-held and often-damaging illusions we should be shaking off.
'Splendid... a clear, well written and highly stimulating account of the flaws in our understanding of Britain's past that bedevilled the great debate over the country's relations with the EU and helped produce the result it did. We could have done with it two or three years ago. But then real history, based on extensive reading, research and the wisdom of a true historian, takes a while to write.' Literary Review '[A] concise, elegant and lucid revisiting of key themes in British history ... There is here not history but histories ... Reynolds provides a very useful primer on the delusions of an English mentality.' Guardian 'Incisive ... Reynolds provides a useful summary of the scholarship that has examined the relationship between the four nations in the British Isles ... Reynolds is at his best when the narrative of Europe as antagonist is concerned ... On the basis of Reynolds' compelling account, Britain's future outside the EU ought to begin with an honest assessment of its past.' Financial Times 'History is essential to political awareness, and the Brexit debate was certainly shaped by historical narratives. Reynolds subjects these narratives to brisk, witty and often acerbic appraisal ... His commentary on how these stories have shaped postwar British politics is compelling.' TLS 'Lively, slender and timely' Foreign Affairs
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