New Books Network

Jeremy Black

A History of Britain

1945 to Brexit

Indiana University Press 2017

New Books in British StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network September 8, 2020 Charles Coutinho

According to the influential French commentator and scholar, Raymond Aron, one the great un-answered questions of the post-1945 period is how and why the...

According to the influential French commentator and scholar, Raymond Aron, one the great un-answered questions of the post-1945 period is how and why the British went from being ‘Romans to Italians’. In an endeavor to answer this question and much more is Professor of History Emeritus at Exeter University Jeremy Black’s book A History of Britain: 1945 to Brexit (Indiana UP, 2017)

Spanning the period from Attlee’s surprise victory over Winston Churchill in 1945, to the equally surprising decision to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, Black’s book is a masterpiece of informed  scholarly analysis and opinion. Coming from one of the historical profession’s great polymaths. Black’s book is a treasure to behold for both the professional historian and the lay educated reader. Black not only deals expertly with the high politics of the period but also with the social changes, economic strains, and cultural and political upheavals that brought Britain to Brexit. This sweeping and engaging book traces Britain’s path through the destruction left behind by World War II, Thatcherism, the threats of the IRA, the Scottish referendum, and on to the impact of waves of immigration from the European Union. Black overturns many conventional interpretations of significant historical events, provides context for current developments, and encourages the reader to question why we think the way we do about Britain’s past.


Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs.