There are few historians who have ever given Churchill the honour he respects through the means by which they look at history and analyze it. Rightly so as the history of the English Speaking Peoples, one of the richest and most versatile in that of humanity has proven immensely difficult to describe, even more so to explain. It is well known that Churchill did a tremendous job, however if there is a modern historian that can rise to Churchill’s height, it is Andrew Roberts, the author of the The English Speaking People’s Since 1900.
The reason this book is so eloquent in its demeanor is because it does not copy Churchill’s view of history but rather expands on it and places a modern-view on the events of the 20th century that shaped the post-colonial world of the English Speaking People. Roberts manages to provide a wherewithal of information and analyses concisely different from that of Churchill methods of the events before the 1900’s, while still maintaining the dignity and integrity of Churchill’s insights. A history that does not move away from the reality of things, nor does it have any undertones of apology.
One aspect of this book which is exceptionally striking is the fact that it is promoting the 20th century as an age of amity between the United Kingdom and that of the United States…
It is of no surprise that Roberts holds a distinctively Conservative view as modern standards would define it, yet to place it in such a light would be an act of injustice of unprecedented nature. It is not conservatism that Roberts is pushing forward but more like common sense. A view of the 20th century not through the eyes of someone who wishes to apologize for the behavior of the English-Speaking Peoples, rather to reaffirm that what has come to pass happened, and there is nothing to be done but assure ourselves that the new age which we are entering will be vastly different.
One aspect of this book which is exceptionally striking is the fact that it is promoting the 20th century as an age of amity between the United Kingdom and that of the United States, one which was obviously fostered by shared language, religion and blood, but concreted in the battlefields of the First World War, and cemented entirely on those of the Second.
Roberts describes it entirely as a rational approach between both nations, not because of their pasts necessarily, rather that the fall of the British Empire and the rise of America coincided perfectly and that Britain would have rather out of all the nations in the world see the United States, “her cousin”, take its place on the world stage. Something which became an entire reality by the 1950’s, when America was finally granted the title of global superpower.
Yet, throughout the entire 600 plus words of this read, there is a sense of mild intellectual abbreviation, perhaps why it is such a well written account of a people, and their stories. What is meant by that is that it is not a generalized view of historic appendages all made into one conglomerate, rather Roberts manages to tie the stories of individuals and the people around them into the greater narrative of history, thus creating an image into the way both famous and not so integral people viewed the world around them and reacted to it in order to change it.
This is not to say that he forgets about the Canadian, and Australian efforts as well as the other places where the English Speaking People’s have set foot. In fact in every instance of importance he never forgets to speak of the Commonwealth nations or protectorates and their roles in the 20th century.
There have been few books who have managed to cover such a broad form of history and be able to do it without sounding too much as an overinflated and generalized story of some people, somewhere. Herring is the man who has written the stoic account of America’s foreign relations since its inception up to Bush. It is without a doubt that Roberts has also been able to achieve the rank of such a historian, although the tasks were presumably rather different.
Amid his lines of wittiness, British humour, and irony that gives A History of The English Speaking People’s Since 1900 its colour, it is a serious account of the history of a people that have shaped the world around them for centuries.