Can the study of supposedly peripheral regions provide insights that are not visible from the centre?
Arthur Aughey finds a fresh perspective on Britain's past in Christopher Harvey's A Floating Commonwealth: Politics, Culture and Technology on Britain's Atlantic Coast, 1860-1930. Writing 'British history with London left out', has enabled Harvie to uncover the wider significance of great Atlantic cities like Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool and Bristol.
Aughey sees in the diversity highlighted by Harvie an underlying unity which illuminates a key question for the future. What is to be the fate of the political union which once dominated this Atlantic world, and does change mean disntegration or simply transformation?