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Continental Drift by Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon

Ernest Bevin cph.3b17494.jpg

I have to say right up front: I haven't read Grob-Fitzgibbon's book. Nor do I plan to. Nonetheless, his is a really cool hyphenated surname, and that at least makes him and by extension his new book worth some mention here.

The book, Continental Drift, is apparently about the drift of Great Britain's political self-image away from the continent of Europe. Chronologically, the sweep seems to be from Ernest Bevin to the present.

Bevin was the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under Prime Minister Attlee from 1945 to 1951. That is his photo, above. Bevin accepted the loss of India, but thought the British Empire had to compensate by holding more tightly onto its possessions in Africa and the Middle East. Bevin also hoped to encourage a united new political structure in Europe, with Britain of course to play the leading role. This would enable Britain to retain Big Three status alongside the US and USSR.  

Britain's self-image as a member of this Big Three club did not survive the Suez crisis in the mid-1950s, though, and the nature of its relationship with the rest of Europe was to take a number of twists and turns.

I have a forthcoming book review in The Federal Lawyer that will speak to related issues, from the point of view of Britain's, and Europe's, finances. That's of another book, not of Grob-Fitzgibbon's which (have I mentioned?) I have not read. I am told it is a fine work.


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