Linda Colley's Britons has enjoyed a long afterlife. Her 1992 volume has become a key historiographical battleground for long-18th-century British historians. 'Four Nations' scholars have tested (and for the most part rejected) the British unity that Colley argued was forged in this period (1), while those of England have remained just as sceptical.
How did the world of nation-states come about? What happened to the world of empires that preceded it? How did the transition take place and how inevitable was it? These may seem (and indeed are) old questions.