Briefings for Britain, April 15, Robert Tombs
It is sad to see feeble and rather hackneyed anti-Brexit clichés being produced by academic historians from very different generations—evidence of the serious damage done to intellectual standards by ‘Brexit Derangement Syndrome’.
Reviews of Bernard Porter, Britain’s Contested History: Lessons for Patriots. (Bloomsbury 2022) and Hannah Rose Woods, Rule Nostalgia: A Backwards History of Britain. (WH Allen, 2022)
It is good for historians to take the plunge into political writing, using their knowledge where they can to illuminate our present predicament. I declare an interest: I have tried it myself, on the other side of the debate. One has to be open with the reader as to one’s intentions, and willing to expose one’s own opinions to the test of evidence. Otherwise, the result is something like these intriguingly confused and confusing books, which are really polemics against Brexit while purporting to be something else. Though very different in style and assumptions, their prejudices lead to the same intellectual dead end.
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