Publication Date: 28/07/2022 ISBN: 9780141995021 Category:

This Sovereign Isle

Robert Tombs

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication Date: 28/07/2022 ISBN: 9780141995021 Category:
Paperback / Softback

£10.99

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Description

THE TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Geography comes before history. Islands cannot have the same history as continental plains. The United Kingdom is a European country, but not the same kind of European country as Germany, Poland or Hungary. For most of the 150 centuries during which Britain has been inhabited it has been on the edge, culturally and literally, of mainland Europe.

In this succinct book, Tombs shows that the decision to leave the EU is historically explicable – though not made historically inevitable – by Britain’s very different historical experience, especially in the twentieth century, and because of our more extensive and deeper ties outside Europe. He challenges the orthodox view that Brexit was due solely to British or English exceptionalism: in choosing to leave the EU, the British, he argues, were in many ways voting as typical Europeans.

Publisher Review

confident ... surprising and original ... and humble ... Tombs's opening chapter, putting Britain's relationship with Europe into a wider historical context, offers more insights than entire shelves of rival Brexit books. "Geography comes before history," he begins. "Islands cannot have the same history as continental plains. The United Kingdom is a European country, but not the same kind of European country as Germany, Poland or Hungary." ... Like all good historians, Tombs can be entertainingly bitchy [yet] all the time, with elegant wit, he punctures myth after myth -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times * The time has finally come for the whole issue [of Brexit] to pass from the hands of journalists into those of historians. Robert Tombs, emeritus professor of French history at Cambridge, has started the process of objective historical analysis with a profoundly thoughtful explanation of how Brexit happened, and why ... Tombs has a witty turn of phrase and agreeably ironic style that means that he never descends into polemic ... If journalism is the first draft of history, then This Sovereign Isle is its penultimate draft, and the best we will have for many years. -- Andrew Roberts * Daily Telegraph * A short, punchy, eloquent statement from such a distinguished historian -- Fintan O'Toole * The Guardian * Cambridge professor Tombs offers a fine first draft of history in this objective explanation of how and why Brexit happened. Tombs takes a witty, engagingly ironic approach to the false claims of Project Fear. -- Summer reading * The Telegraph * A rare intellectual proponent of Brexit, Robert Tombs infuriates pro-Europeans-even more so because of his undeniable calibre as a historian ... This Sovereign Isle argued that the Leave vote was inevitable as well as rational: the UK never fitted the European project. He understands this as a reaction to the traumas of the continent's story - traumas that Britain's distinctive journey has sometimes ducked ... His theme - national identity in a fracturing world - has contemporary significance far beyond these shores. -- The world's top 50 thinkers, 2021 * Prospect * admirably independent-minded and well argued ... should indeed be made compulsory reading for all Brexiteers -- Richard Evans * New Statesman * To Remainers interested in reading a civilised & learned defence of Brexit, I highly recommend it -- Tom Holland

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