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Island Stories Reviews

Island Stories by David Reynolds

Island Stories: Britain and Its History in the Age of Brexit

David Reynolds

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: William Collins
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 21 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9780008282318

What does Brexit mean to you? For award-winning historian David Reynolds, it's neither a saga of British liberation nor a Westminster soap: it's a crisis of national identity a long time in the making.

4 stars out of 5
30 Oct 2019

"Reynolds provides a very useful primer on the delusions of an English mentality"

There is here not history but histories. The “island story” is neither; it pertains not to an island but to an archipelago and it contains multiple, shifting and sometimes competing narratives. Reynolds provides a very useful primer on the delusions of an English mentality in which, as John Pocock put it in a ground-breaking essay in 1974, the Welsh, Scots and Irish “appear as peripheral peoples when, and only when, their doings assume the power to disturb the tenor of English politics”.

Reviews

2 stars out of 5
Dominic Sandbrook
20 Oct 2019

"A facile look at British history in the light of Brexit"

Is there anybody in Britain, with the possible exception of Jacob Rees-Mogg, who seriously believes our history is a uniquely unsullied story of “global greatness”? Does any reasonable observer think that Britain and England are the same thing? Does anybody genuinely think we won the Second World War single-handed? Of course not. But as we have seen time and again since the referendum, there’s nothing academics like better than taking down a straw man.