On many levels this is an excellent book. The research would be outstanding if carried out by a writer or research assistant, but Reynolds is a professional historian, so one would expect him to know his business. However, obtained, the detail is impressive.
There is unfortunately a caustic edge to the writing. It starts out with politics, making sure that we know that Reynolds is anti Donald Trump. What that had to do with a work of British History escaped me. He is also disparaging of Conservative politicians. England doesn’t escape his invective either. Indeed, I failed to find one good word about England. For example, if England won a battle, they were lucky. If they lost, they were routed. Other countries fought bravely etc.
I don’t know where Reynolds was born. I do know he went to my old school in London, but I don’t think he was born in England, he is too anti English.
Island Stories is a political work on a foundation of history. Brexit looms large, particularly at the end of the work where details of the machinations of the politicians on both sides, is explored in minute detail.
For those who have a romantic view of Great Britain, this book may influence that opinion. It should be remembered, however, that judging the past by the values of today can be very misleading.