In 2016, Britain stunned itself and the world by voting to pull out of the European Union, leaving financial markets reeling and global politicians and citizens in shock. But was Brexit really a surprise, or are there clues in Britain’s history that pointed to this moment? In A History of Britain: 1945 to Brexit, award-winning historian Jeremy Black reexamines modern British history, considering 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 immigrants 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.
Preface: From Empire to Where?
Prime Ministers from 1945
1. Environment under Strain
2. Economy under Strain
3. Changing Society
4. Changing Culture
5. The After-Echoes of War, 1945-60
6. The Politics of Crisis, 1961-79
7. Thatcherism, 1979-90
8. Changing Directions, 1990-2016
9. British Issues, 1945-2016
10. European and World Questions
11. Into the Future
Selected Further Reading
Jeremy Black is a superlative guide to modern British history. He combines a wonderful narrative style with unimpeachable intellectual authority. If anyone wants to understand how our country has developed over the last seventy years, there is no better volume than this.
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Throughout this volume, Professor Black demonstrates an enviable ability to communicate the most complex events incisively and economically—whether analyzing the Northern Irish 'Troubles' in a few pages, or the Miners' Strike in a few paragraphs. With masterly command of detail, he builds a picture of change and continuity which makes the outcome of Britain's Brexit referendum much easier to comprehend.
Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom, Chairman, House of Commons Defense Committee