Don’t be fooled by the title. This is not a rallying call for Brexiteers. It’s not a lament for a Britain pounded down by evil, authoritarian Europeans. It doesn’t set out to show how to put the Great back in Britain and ride off once more into the blissful sunrise of ascendant independence.
Not for a second.
This is a book about how Britain lost that Great. In page after page and chapter after chapter, James Hamilton-Paterson describes how post-WW2 Britain threw away its manufacturing prowess with a combination of snobbish disregard for industry; smug reliance on its role as victor in that war; dull, blinkered management; and a short-sighted willingness to sell off industries, skills and property to the highest bidder. It’s a blast of rage at bad leadership and naked self-interest. It’s a lament for a country that once had reason to be proud but happily sold its heritage to foreign investors. Then had the temerity to blame its decline on poor immigrants.