This book examines comparatively how the writing of history by individuals and groups, historians, politicians and journalists has been used to "legitimate" the nation-state agianst socialist, communist and catholic internationalism in the modern era. Covering the whole of Western Europe, the book includes discussion of:
* history as legitimation in post-revolutionary France
* unity and confederation in the Italian Risorgimento
* German historians as critics of Prussian conservatism
* right-wing history writing in France between the wars
* British historiography from Macauley to Trevelyan
* the search for national identity in the reunified Germany.