My advance copy of the second edition arrived by post a few days ago. It will be generally available from July.
The new edition is about 40 pages longer than the first edition. What, you ask, are the major changes?
Well, in the publisher's words the changes to the new edition include "bringing the story right up to today" (well, up to June 2011: once the typescript has been delivered it's difficult to make any major changes or additions).
There is also "fresh coverage of immigration, multiculturalism, and the resurgence of nationalism in the Low Countries" — something touched on very briefly in the first edition (finished in 2005), but developed at more length here (still modest length: it has to fit in with 2000 years of other history).
The new edition "outlines the countries' recent economic successes and failures". "Recent" meaning since 1973, I suppose, and do bear in mind that this really is an outline, a sketch as it were.
The book now "includes a new list of political parties and governments since 1918", something which was lacking from the first edition. If it really is a lack. How important is it to a reader to have such a thing? Still, hopefully somebody somewhere will find it useful, and the main purpose it to unburden the prose by packing the party-political developments into a tabular format.
There's also (unmentioned by the publisher) new material on popular entertainment. New in the sense that it wasn't in the first edition: it's about the decades immediately after the Second World War.
The first edition was copy edited and printed in Britain. The new edition was copy edited in India and printed in China. I suppose I shouldn't cavil: without such savings they might not have thought another edition of my work was worth the expense.