Shadows of EmpireThe Anglosphere in British Politics
Shadows of Empire
The Anglosphere in British Politics
The idea of an alliance between Britain and its old Commonwealth colonies has recently made a remarkable comeback in the context of Brexit. Based on belief in a special bond between the English-speaking peoples of the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, it has been dubbed the 'Anglosphere' by supporters and 'Empire 2.0' by critics. 

In this book, leading commentators Michael Kenny and Nick Pearce trace the historical origins of this idea back to the shadow cast by the British Empire in the late Victorian era. They show how leading British political figures, from Churchill to Thatcher, consistently reworked it and how it was revived by a group of right-wing politicians, historians and pamphleteers to support the case for Brexit. They argue that, while the contemporary idea of the Anglosphere as an alternative to European Union membership is seriously flawed, it nonetheless represents an enduring account of Britain’s role in the world that runs through the heart of political life over the last century. 

<i>Shadows of Empire</i> will be essential reading for everyone interested in British politics and post-Brexit foreign policy.
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  • May 2018
  • 224 pages
  • 143 x 219 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509516605
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509516612
  • Open eBook $15.99
  • 9781509516643
Table of Contents
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1
  • The Origins of the Anglosphere
  • Chapter 2
  • After Empire: The Rise of the “English-Speaking Peoples”
  • Chapter 3
  • A Parting of the Ways: Britain & the Commonwealth in the Post-War World
  • Chapter 4
  • The Powellite Interlude: Sovereignty, Decline and the Return to England 
  • Chapter 5
  • The Anglosphere in the Late Twentieth Century: Retreat and Thatcherite Reinvention
  • Chapter 6
  • The Eurosceptic Anglosphere Emerges
  • Chapter 7
  • Brexit: the Anglosphere Triumphant?
  • Conclusion
About the Author
Mike Kenny is Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge

Nick Pearce is Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath
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"This is an important book for anyone interested in the intellectual roots of Euroscepticism and the Brexit referendum and is particularly interesting on the role played by Enoch Powell in this history. A great read."
Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister

"In this important and wide-ranging study Kenny and Pearce show how the conception of an Anglosphere has shaped many different political projects over the last hundred years, from Greater Britain to Brexit. Essential reading for understanding the Brexit debate."
Andrew Gamble, SPERI, University of Sheffield

"Concise and well-written, Kenny and Pearce’s book will be of great value to students interested in the history of Britain’s international relations from the heyday of empire to the present."
Times Higher Education

'The message go global may not have animated the daily Leave campaign, but in the words of Michael Kenny and Nick Pearce in their book Shadows of Empire, it “supplied a horizon of possibility, and a way of thinking about British history”.'
The Guardian

'The chequered story Kenny and Pearce tell is rich in ironies and surprises. Their book serves, moreover, as a salutary warning that our customary preoccupation with domestic political economy ignores its necessary foundation in international networks and alignments; an insight obvious to the earlier generations who navigated the transitions from the British empire to the Commonwealth to the European Community.'
New Statesman

'[A] fascinating account of the influence of the idea of the "Anglosphere" on British politics.'
Financial Times

"a rich and interesting book"
Open Democracy 

‘timely and enlightening’
The Economist

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