This Sovereign Isle
THE TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
The author of the celebrated bestseller The English and Their History puts Brexit in its historical context
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.
Original and enormously readable, this brilliant, hugely engaging work has a sly wit and insouciance that are of themselves rather English -- Sinclair MacKay * Daily Telegraph * A stupendous achievement ... a story of a people we can't fail to recognize: stoical, brave, drunken, bloody-minded, violent, undeferential, yet paradoxically law-abiding ... I found myself gripped -- Daniel Hannan * Spectator * As ambitious as it is successful ... Packed with telling detail and told with gentle, sardonic wit, a vast and delightful book -- Ben MacIntyre * The Times, Books of the Year * Masterful, an enormously readable narrative of the English people from the Anglo-Saxons to the present -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times, Books of the Year * Praise for * The English and Their History (2014) *
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