Geography comes before history. Islands cannot have the same history as continental plains. The United Kingdom is a European country, but not the same kind of European country as Germany, Poland or Hungary. For most of the 150 centuries during which Britain has been inhabited it has been on the edge, culturally and literally, of mainland Europe.
Robert Tombs, author of This Sovereign Isle, will reveal how the decision to leave the EU is historically explicable - though not made historically inevitable - by Britain's very different historical experience, especially in the 20th century, and because of our more extensive and deeper ties outside Europe. He will challenge the orthodox view that Brexit was due solely to British or English exceptionalism: in choosing to leave the EU, the British, he will argue, were in many ways voting as typical Europeans.
This is a YouTube Premiere event. You’ll be sent a link to the screening a couple of days before it takes place, as well as a reminder an hour before.
You can buy copies of many of our speakers’ books from Fox Lane Books, a local independent bookseller and Festival partner. In some cases, author signed bookplates are available too.
About the speaker
Robert Tombs is Emeritus Professor of French History at Cambridge, and a Fellow of St John's College. Most of his writing and teaching has been on French and European history and on Franco-British relations, for which he was awarded the Palmes Académiques by the French government. Since his foray into English history, with the publication of The English and Their History in 2014, he has become a frequent commentator on contemporary issues, and is co-editor of the pro-Brexit academic website Briefings for Britain.