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Cosmopolitan Islanders
British Historians and the European Continent


  • Date Published: May 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521137249

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About the Authors
  • In Cosmopolitan Islanders one of the world's leading historians asks why it is that so many prominent and influential British historians have devoted themselves to the study of the European continent. Books on the history of France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and many other European countries, and of Europe more generally, have frequently reached the best-seller lists both in Britain and (in translation) in those European countries themselves. Yet the same is emphatically not true in reverse. Richard J. Evans traces the evolution of British interest in the history of Continental Europe from the Enlightenment to the twentieth century. He goes on to discuss why British historians who work on aspects of European history in the present day have chosen to do so and why this distinguished tradition is now under threat. Cosmopolitan Islanders ends with some reflections on what needs to be done to ensure its continuation in the future.

    • Richard Evans is one of the top three historians writing in the UK today, with a worldwide reputation that his recent Penguin trilogy on the Third Reich has only enhanced
    • Cosmopolitan Islanders will complement his best-selling Defence of History
    • The book is bound to generate controversy and debate
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Richard J. Evans: the magisterial chronicler of the Third Reich … was recently appointed Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University. Expanded from an inaugural lecture, his book … asks how an often insular culture managed to nurture two generations of world-ranking historians whose passions and positions made them 'a good deal more cosmopolitan' than most of their peers across the seas.' Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

    'Evans makes a convincing case for his thesis of British historians of Europe as cosmopolitan islanders, discussing the work and influence of the present generation of practitioners …' A. W. Purdue, THE (Book of the Week)

    'Richard Evans's new study of the historical profession in Britain serves as a timely reminder both of what Britain's historians have achieved over the past half-century, and what may be lost if their legacy is squandered.' Mark Mazower, The New Republic

    'This book has all the advantages one expects of a text by Richard Evans: an interesting subject, clear prose, a broad sweep, decisive opinions, snap judgements - and thus the ability to provoke on a missive scale.' German Historical Institute London Bulletin

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521137249
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 139 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Unequal exchanges
    2. The view across the Channel
    3. Open borders
    4. A sense of adventure
    5. The language problem
    Further reading.

  • Author

    Richard J. Evans, University of Cambridge
    Richard J. Evans is Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College. A Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, Professor Evans has also taught at Birkbeck, University of London, where he was Vice-Master, and the University of East Anglia, where he was Professor of European History.

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