Cover of my new – and almost certainly last – book, due out on 3 June. It’s a collection of old historical articles and lectures, representing the non-imperial side of my work; together with a couple of new ones on present day concerns, which may well have passed into history themselves by the time it’s published. (They include Boris, so let’s hope so.) It’s not going to be a best-seller; history books, and especially collections of essays, very rarely are, unless they’re by politicians, TV personalities, or historians who have courted notoriety, especially with Right-wing views. It will probably be expensive, with the publisher relying on libraries and the e-market for sales. (I’ll get almost nothing, of course.) And the sub-title may be a little misleading – it’s not directly about the relationship between Britain and Europe, about which I’ve written before (Britain, Europe and the World. Delusions of Grandeur: 1987) – but it was the best we could come up with.
I think Bloomsbury’s cover is quite striking. And holding the book in my arms – I always think producing a book is rather like giving birth to a baby: labour, pain, post-natal depression, although of course I only have empathetic experience of those – will be a nice gift for a new octogenarian. (I’ll have passed that milestone four months before.)
Speaking of which, are there any more upsides to being 80? I can’t think of any. I won’t even be able to hold a party, in the middle of a pandemic. Kajsa says I should look upon it as the ‘new 60’. But my body is not altogether convinced.