The very idea of "Britain" has changed with the gain and loss of empire, the assimilation and devolution of various portions of the country, and the introduction and then dismantling of a welfare state that was nothing short of revolutionary in the wake of World War II. This volume provides an introduction to the history and culture of a nation that just a century ago was the world's leading imperial power and today is striving to reestablish its place as an international leader. The fortunes of that nation are outlined, describing its development from the days of Roman rule through the most recent events of Tony Blair's prime ministership. Rodrick introduces many important issues in Great Britain's history and also provides the reader with an overview of contemporary British society, from the intricacies of parliamentary politics to the cultural significance of church and crown. Includes a biographical section highlighting famous figures in British history, a timeline of important historical events, and a short bibliographical essay with suggestions for further reading. Focusing on the political and social developments of the 19th and 20th centuries, Rodrick discusses the evolving relationship between monarch and parliament, the dismantling of Britain's empire and the challenges the nation now faces, Britian's contentious relations with the rest of Europe, and the differences between "English" and "British." This volume places modern Britain within the contemporary context of a post-imperial world, addressing the issues of post-colonialism and nationalism in a readable and brief format.