GREAT BRITAIN SINCE 1688 by K.B. Smellie


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The University of Michigan has embarked on the herculean task of writing the history of the world in fifteen volumes. Mr. Smellie's volume is the second of two on Great Britain. It describes in vivid narrative the political, social and economic events that shaped Britain from the revolution of 1689 to post World War II and the welfare state. His discussions of the concept of balance of power, and of the development of political institutions are among the most cogent. It is difficult to assess the value of these survey books. As a class they are of little interest to the general reader and of little value to the scholar. But if Mr. Smellie's book must be judged as one of many gallops through history, it must be given first prize. Written by a fine scholar, it is the best survey of its kind this reader has seen. The author's bibliography is excellent; he has shown real skill in selecting the pertinent data. Mr. Smellie does not try the reader's patience with long factual recitations, but rather gives the reader a comprehensive background which he can apply to his understanding of the modern world. A lively and accurate account, recommended to those readers who want a bird's-eye view of British history from William III to Elizabeth II.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1962
Publisher: Univ. of Michigan Press