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One might be forgiven for thinking that British defence policy between the Napoleonic era and the outbreak of the First World War was always geared towards a large, continental commitment.
The cover of Jan Rüger’s Heligoland shows a small, forbidding and desolate rock surrounded by inclement seas and with no sign of human habitation. This unwelcoming glimpse of land from afar – as so often the case with islands – will prove to be misleading. It gives no sense of the history on a grand scale that is to come.
John Charmley is, of course, no stranger to controversy.... How tempting it would be to begin a review of his latest book in this vein.