Relations with Continental Europe have been a central issue in British history.
Several crucial questions can be identified: first, how similar or dissimilar was Britain, to other European countries in respect of its economy and political culture?; secondly, how far can similarity and difference be understood in terms of convergence and divergence, or of roughly parallel tracks reflecting and sustaining longstanding differences?; thirdly, did British people feel themselves to be Europeans?; fourthly did the British people take an informed and sympathetic interest in what was happening on the Continent, or did their ignorance of Europe lead to insularity and xenophobia?; and fifthly, to what extent was the British stage, and Britain as a whole involved in the affairs of Europe, diplomatically, militarily, economically, culturally?
This wide-ranging, thoughtful and provocative study tackles these questions from the late Iron Age to the current debate about European integration.
It is at once an important contribution to British history and a crucial work for those seeking to understand Britain's past and present position in Europe.