Continental Drift: Britain and Europe from the End of Empire to the Rise of Euroscepticism by Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon; Britain's Europe: A Thousand Years of Conflict and Cooperation by Brendan Simms - review by David Edgerton

David Edgerton

Over to EU

Continental Drift: Britain and Europe from the End of Empire to the Rise of Euroscepticism

By

Cambridge University Press 590pp £24.99 order from our bookshop

Britain's Europe: A Thousand Years of Conflict and Cooperation

By

Allen Lane 302pp £20 order from our bookshop
 

Why has much of the United Kingdom been so Eurosceptic? One common answer, from Eurosceptics and pro-Europeans alike, is that the UK has been and remains very different from what is called continental Europe. The differentiating feature, it is typically suggested, is the ‘empire’, supplemented in the more recent past by the ‘special relationship’ with the United States. This thesis has been reinforced by a historiography, particularly prominent in the USA, that has sought to put the empire back into British history.

Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon deals it an effective blow in Continental Drift by pointing out that from 1945 onwards there was a powerful British movement for the integration of the UK with the rest of Western Europe, led and energised in the first instance by Winston Churchill. The aim was

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