Covering over 2,000 years in under 200 pages, Jeremy Black takes the reader on a breathless tour of British history, providing invaluable context for students of any period. A truly British overview, this book covers all four constituent parts of the UK, as well as migration to and from Britain, and introduces questions of national identity and collective memory.
The author begins by considering how the geography of Britain has influenced its development and goes on to examine the formation of its society and political culture. Resisting the Whiggish tradition of triumphalist national histories, Jeremy Black provides a balanced and sensitive account in his trademark pithy style.
This new edition has been revised and expanded with 15,000 words of new material, which brings the coverage right up to the present day, including what the Scottish referendum on independence says about the nature of modern 'Britishness'.
Jeremy Black offers here an important and much-needed overview and re-appraisal of British history from the Romans to the present. Whilst dealing with the economic, social and political history of Britain, the underlying theme of this book is the meaning of Britishness and what this means - and has meant - for relations between Britain and the rest of the world and between the nations comprising Britain. The fluid and constantly renegotiated meaning of Britishness is offered in a lively and compelling manner, as the anxieties about identity are examined, re-examined and distilled within the context of 2,000 years of British history. This is a vital , if personal, interpretation of British history and should be read widely by anyone interested in the history of Britain. * Keith Laybourn, Diamond Jubilee Professor of the University of Huddersfield, UK *
This book is a superb account of the sweep of British history from earliest times to the present day. Written by one of Britain's leading historians, it draws on an unrivalled knowledge and a wealth of scholarship; at the same time it is a highly readable and engaging. The account of British history presented here is a fascinating narrative of a national story without losing the local perspectives. This is history at its best: combining broad themes, formidable controversies and debates, with human details. If you want to read a single book to understand how the past informs the present, this is it. * William Gibson, Professor of History, Oxford Brookes University, UK *
... this thin volume is a fast-paced, balanced survey covering the history of Britain from pre-Roman times to the present. In addition to political history, Black gives equal time to the social, cultural, and economic history of Britain ... While the book is understandably heavy on English affairs, Black also discusses events in Scotland and Ireland where appropriate. The prevailing themes of war, unrest, and change illustrated throughout the book confirm that the road to today's modern, multicultural Britain was indeed an uneven one. The author concludes with a look at the uncertainties facing Britain, including the question of national identity, the effects of mass immigration, and Britain's relationship with the European Union. General readers and students seeking a concise narrative of British history should look no further. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Public and undergraduate libraries. -- M. Frasier-Robinson, University of Southern Mississippi * CHOICE *