Published Jan 2010
In April 1607 three British ships arrived off Chesapeake Bay with a crew of 104 settlers who founded Jamestown, the first permanent British settlement in America. In March 2003 Prime Minister Tony Blair supported President George W. Bush in the American-led war to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein, the reverberations from which echo around the world to this day. In Old World, New World, Kathleen Burk sets out to tell the story of Britain and America across the four hundred intervening years.
There are two strands to this story. The first is the grand narrative that takes in the British colonisation of America and the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War and the global conflicts of the twentieth century, and today, Iraq. It describes America’s inevitable eclipse of its former colonial master as a Great Power, and of the enmities and sympathies, the confusions and understandings born along the way. The second strand is quieter but no less fascinating. Displaying a breathtaking command of her subject, Burk examines many other facets of the Anglo-American relationship: economic, religious, cultural, social, even romantic.
These strands taken together make Old World, New World an unprecedented achievement. No one could hope to write the definitive story of these two countries and their relationships, but few will come closer than Kathleen Burk has in this brilliant book.