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A nation must think before it acts.
At 160 pages, a genuinely ‘slim volume’, “A Short History of Britain” nevethless covers an enormous sweep of time – from the mists of prehistory to the present day. And yet, as he surveys the countless years, Professor Jeremy Black – one of the UK’s leading historians – never loses sight of his main theme: the trends that have made Britain what it is – exceptional. Not in any jingoistic way, but in the sense that, right from prehistoric times, the geography, the topography, the demography have all moulded the British character and contributed to the way we have evolved and to the way we are now. Of late, there has been a tendency in government and the media to dwell on those aspects of our being that are shared with other countries; but the history of other countries is not our history. And Britain’s history readily stands comparison with the history of any other country. With its broadly chronological structure, “A Short History of Britain” does not shy away from dates, people and events. And, as such, it is a handy work of ready reference. But it is so much more than that. In his trademark pithy style, Jeremy Black brings an extra dimension to the history of our nation: he reminds us vividly what we should cherish about our past and, more particularly, what we are in such grave danger of losing.