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A Short History of Brexit: From Brentry to Backstop (Pelican Books)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  155 ratings  ·  20 reviews

A succinct, expert guide to how we got to Brexit

After all the debates, manoeuvrings, recriminations and exaltations, Brexit is upon us. But, as Kevin O'Rourke writes, Brexit did not emerge out of nowhere: it is the culmination of events that have been under way for decades and have historical roots stretching back well beyond that. Brexit has a history.

O'Rourke, one of

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Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published January 31st 2019 by Pelican
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Michael Huang
The in-and-outs of Brexit — not really a subject worth learning. The oversimplified version is this: cakeism. The British politicians want the benefits (e.g., free trade) but not the associated commitment (e.g., giving up some control).
Athan Tolis
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, politics
Unashamedly from the Remainer angle, but genuinely trying to be objective, author Kevin O’Rourke argues very convincingly that Theresa May’s (three-times rejected, we now know) deal was 100% motivated by the need to skirt around issues raised by the need to meet three incompatible goals, two of which relate to Northern Ireland:

1. The need for the UK to “take back control” of its immigration policy (and thus leave the Single Market, which dictates the four freedoms to move are indivisible)
2. The
...more
WW
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Today seems timely to finish this. The book ends in December 2018, and in an already chaotic process, doesn’t even describe the pandemonium that is going on right now
Holly Law
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I need to re-read the final two chapters to truly get my head around Brexit to the point I could feel confident discussing it in some detail, but, this book has allowed me to finally feel like I almost understand what’s going on!
Tom Richards
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent overview of the historical development of the EU, particularly as it applies to Britain and Ireland. Also the best explanation I have yet seen of the difference between a customs union and a free trade area, including a discussion on how VAT works in the EU. The trilemma of a) no border in Ireland (article 49 of the WA) b) no border between Britain and Northern Ireland (article 50 of the WA) c) leaving the customs union (as per the Lancaster House speech) is well-covered (in essence, ...more
Dominik
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Po przeczytaniu (właściwie wysłuchaniu) tej książki znacznie lepiej rozumiem, czemu Brytyjczycy zagłosowali za Brexitem i dlaczego mają z nim taki problem. Ciekawe teraz jak skończy się ta historia (książka doprowadza akcję tylko do końca 2018 roku).
Mark Mills
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very good primer on the economic history underlying Britain's place in Europe
Keshav
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A rich historical account of Britain's relationship with the continent. If only MPs had as much clarity. (Extended review to follow)
Renate
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, history
Bought and read after seeing a recommendation from Sabine Weyand on Twitter. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to know how and why the UK joined the EU. Discovered some surprising facts.
Ron Peters
O’Rourke’s book makes for fascinating but discouraging reading. By the end I found it impossible to believe that a happy conclusion to Brexit is possible. The Brexiteers have, all along, believed that, either: a) they can have their cake and eat it too (maintaining total access to European markets while ignoring the trade laws and standards of the EU and setting up one-off deals and tariffs with any nation they please), or b) they will crash out of Brexit entirely and still come up, magically, ...more
Neil Fox
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kevin O’Rourke, as a prominent Oxford Professor of Economic History and renowned scholar, is uniquely qualified from a Professional viewpoint to author a work on the history of Brexit (history to date, that is). As a Citizen of Europe, he is also well qualified, born of an Irish Diplomat Father and Danish mother, educated in Switzerland, and co-resident in Ireland, the UK and France.

The story of Brexit is not a recent one dating back to the years leading up to the 2016 referendum; Brexit is an
...more
Ashley Barratt
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
As Brexit Day draws ever closer I thought I’d get some historical context for the events playing out. This is an accessible read - especially for non British readers - as it is written by an Irish author and directed to a European audience.

British ambivalence to Europe is explained simply and effectively from a historical perspective. The impact of the ongoing relationship with the Commonwealth on British thinking is covered in direct terms.

One concludes wondering what Ted Heath and Harold
...more
Sarah Grant
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Enlightening read on the facts about Brexit. The author is highly informed on the facts and references roughly 30-40 pages of other work/journalism to back himself up, thus making his work more factual than the usual topic-related stuff. Not being from the EU, this gave me some insight in a straightforward way. However, as I don’t normally read these sorts of books, I found it difficult to finish. It was a bit dull and dreary. Not so much of a holiday read but informative all the same.
Sonia
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional book! It really delves into the background reasons for all this paranoia, and it makes it easy for the reader to understand why and how we ended up here.
I highly recommend it to anyone wondering about the current political affairs, no matter what level of education or history expertise they have attained!
Ietrio
Jun 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk
A simple mind who can't even have an opinion beyond some vague angry emotions. The thing is not even done. And there is a delay, like everything governmental, but O'Rourke already got more than he could handle. So here it is: a history about something that is not clear, or even done.
Daria
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reads like an action-packed apocalyptic drama. Impossible to put down even despite complex references and language bordering on scientific. There is a sense of imminent catastrophe all through he book, and it is sadly based on facts. Hard to be impersonal about Brexit having read this.
Kirt
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: current-events
I read the blinkist abridgement.
Astrid Johanne
A good book to give a overview of the consequences of Brexit
Ilia
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nice overview of the history of relations between Europe and the UK, as well as of the economic context of the EU and the UK. Good for understanding of the Brexit phenomenon especially if you have not been following this topic yourself.
Jake
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I started reading this because I have a lot of friends from the UK and I felt unqualified to hear them talk about brexit. it's hard to find a book that is a history of brexit (seems like there are 3 of them) that wasn't written by a libdem.

knowing the context for events was nice. it does go quite deep and just doesn't stick to recent more current events.
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Kevin O'Rourke is Chichele Professor of Economic History at Oxford, and a Fellow of All Souls College. Between 2014 and 2018 he was Research Director of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, a network of 1100 researchers in universities throughout Europe. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the British Academy.