The History Behind Brexit

Nigel Farage hasn’t yet published a British history book, or is likely to, I imagine; but at least two of his fellow Brexiteers have. There was Boris Johnson’s recent tome on Churchill, and another one due shortly, I understand, on Shakespeare; and now there’s Jacob Rees-Mogg’s book of essays on the Victorians: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Victorians-Twelve-Titans-Forged-Britain/dp/0753548526. I’ve not yet been offered any of them to review, sadly, and am reluctant to spend good money on the hardbacks. So I can’t offer a professional opinion, and am unwilling to accept the judgments of others uncritically.

Nevertheless, you will be aware of the almost universally bad press that Rees-Mogg’s effort in particular has attracted, and of its poor sales. In connexion with which I was particularly struck by this comment I picked up from Facebook, though I can’t vouch for it. It’s from one Emmie Rose Goodfellow:

‘My publisher father has just gleefully informed me that this book has sold fewer copies than one titled “Adjustable Spanners: History, Uses and Developments since 1970”.’

That’s tasty! But of course one can’t judge the quality of a book by its sales – otherwise some of mine would come lower in the list even than Moggy’s. So I’ll delay my own judgment for now.

I feel, however, that I should read these books, if only to gain an insight into the particular historical mentality that must lie behind both these men’s views on Brexit; which I assume they imbibed in their History classes at Eton, of which they are both alumni. I wonder whether my local library here in Stockholm has copies I can borrow? – Otherwise I can always wait for the remaindered copies, which will undoubtedly appear in the bookshops soon.

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
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