While there has been much work on the British economy in the post-war period, much of this has focused on the domestic economy. In the absence of detailed research, myths have flourished about the external economic situation. The chief of these is that Britain, deluded by past grandeur, arrogantly attempted to retain an international role for which it was no longer suited or equipped.
For many this is illustrated by the persistance of the sterling area, a group of countries which because of their strong colonial, cultural and trading ties with the UK, stablized their exchange rates with sterling and held a large part of their foreign reserves in sterling. It has become accepted that this had a detrimental effect on the sterling balance, inernational trade, long term capital flows and Britain's exchange rate policy. Catherine R. Schenk challenges each of those assumptions and in every instance finds that the negative impact was less that has been implied. "Britain and the Sterling Area" makes a significant contribution to unravelling the strands of British external economic policy in the post-war period.