Kevin O'Rourke

A Short History of Brexit
  • A Short History of Brexit

  • 'Crisp, clear and quietly devastating' Guardian
    'Excellent, authoritative, highly readable' Irish Times

    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 the leading economic historians of his generation, explains not only how British attitudes to Europe have evolved, but also how the EU's history explains why it operates as it does today - and how that history has shaped the ways in which it has responded to Brexit. Why are the economics, the politics and the history so tightly woven together? Crucially, he also explains why the question of the Irish border is not just one of customs and trade, but for the EU goes to the heart of what it is about. The way in which British, Irish and European histories continue to interact with each other will shape the future of Brexit - and of the continent.

    Calm and lucid, A Short History of Brexit rises above the usual fray of discussions to provide fresh perspectives and understanding of the most momentous political and economic change in Britain and the EU for decades.

Kevin O'Rourke is Professor of Economics at NYU Abu Dhabi. He was previously 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. His previous books include (as co-author) Globalization and History: the evolution of a nineteenth-century Atlantic economy and Power and Plenty: Trade, War and the World Economy in the Second Millennium; and (as co-editor) The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe.