The Isles

The Isles

A History

The literary and financial success of "Europe: A History" transformed many aspects of my life. It enabled me to retire from the university and to become full time writer; it lay behind my election to the British Academy; coinciding with the much delayed publication of my books in Poland, it opened the door to my family dividing their time between Oxford and Kraków; and it paved the way to a ten-year, three-book contract with Macmillan's.

"The Isles: A History" was the first title undertaken with Macmillan’s, and diverged completely from everything done previously. 25 years of studying Poland had taught me that mainstream history is highly selective; just as so-called European historians habitually write about Germany and Russia while ignoring "the lands between”, so English historians often discuss the British Isles, as if only England counts. I set out to compose an antidote.

The resultant tome rivals "Europe" in size, scope and ambition. Much of it was written in Australia, where colleagues in Adelaide and Canberra approved of my attack on Anglocentre historiography and where library resources drove my endeavours forward. My one regret is that time did not permit the trimming of the longer quotations. Even so many readers expressed appreciation of the extensive excerpts and quotations that justified my arguments. The reviews were pleasing. The late Hugo Young called "The Isles": "the first European history of Britain”.

For the first time, "The Isles" brought me into the orbit of current politics. In the final chapter, having analysed the crumbling foundations of the United Kingdom, I speculated whether the UK might not be approaching its end. Some critics thought the suggestion outrageous. Yet now that the Scottish Government is preparing for a referendum of independence, it has proved very realistic.

Check book translation:

see international editions
The Isles - cs

The book is translated into: Česky.

ISBN: 9788073410902

The Isles - ja

The book is translated into: 日本語.

ISBN: 9784764105805

The Isles - pl

The book is translated into: Polski.

ISBN: 978-83-240-2222-9

The Isles - it

The book is translated into: Italiano.

ISBN: 9788842490029

English version details

  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
    ISBN: 0195148312 | 9780195148312
    Cover: hardcover, paperback
    Pages: 1296
    Audiobook: Available
    Ebook: Available