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All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To [Hardcover]

Stuart Laycock
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2012
Out of 193 countries that are currently UN member states, we’ve invaded or fought conflicts in the territory of 171. That’s not far off a massive, jaw-dropping 90 per cent. Not too many Britons know that we invaded Iran in the Second World War with the Soviets. You can be fairly sure a lot more Iranians do. Or what about the time we arrived with elephants to invade Ethiopia? Every summer, hordes of British tourists now occupy Corfu and the other Ionian islands. Find out how we first invaded them armed with cannon instead of camera and set up the United States of the Ionian Islands. Think the Philippines have always been outside our zone of influence? Think again. Read the surprising story of our eighteenth-century occupation of Manila and how we demanded a ransom of millions of dollars for the city. This book takes a look at some of the truly awe-inspiring ways our country has been a force, for good and for bad, right across the world. A lot of people are vaguely aware that a quarter of the globe was once pink, but that’s not even half the story. We’re a stroppy, dynamic, irrepressible nation and this is how we changed the world, often when it didn’t ask to be changed!

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All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To + 1000 Years of Annoying the French + An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: (or 2000 Years Of Upper Class Idiots In Charge)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (1 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752479695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752479699
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 12.8 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 98,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Some of the places we need to invade are hard to get at. Some are also extremely hard to spell. --Robert Crampton - The Times

[This] study shows [Britain's] true global reach was far more extensive than maps would suggest. --Ryan Kisiel - The Daily Mail

Britain has invaded all but 22...several offer inviting pretexts for a little light invading. Paraguay, I'm told, is lovely at this time of year. --Samuel Muston - The Independent

About the Author

STUART LAYCOCK is an author and historian. He studied Classics at Jesus College, Cambridge, and has written a number of history books including Britannia: The Failed State (nominated for Current Archaeology Book of the Year), Warlords: The Struggle for Power in Post-Roman Britain, and UnRoman Britain: Exposing the Myth of Britannia (described in The Sunday Times as thrillingly provocative ). From looking at people invading Britain, he now turns his attention to Britain invading other people.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and informative 22 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a hugely entertaining book, which can be read in bite-sized chunks as it's thoughtfully divided into each country that British troops have invaded/fought in. The tone is very down to Earth and the author is not afraid to admit when we engaged in less than morally upright behaviour (yes, Opium Wars, we're looking at you). In fact, the only thing stopping me giving the work 5 stars is what I fully accept to be a pet hate of mine. I appreciate that Mr Laycock was, by necessity, restricted by the terms he could use, in order to avoid repetition, but I absolutely detest the word "Brit", an Americanism which has been thrust upon us in recent years. To my horror, most people seem happy to accept, and use, the loathsome expression. Well, I may be a stubborn old fogey (I'm 48) but I'm a Briton, and proud of it. I accept that it might seem trivial to many, and I'm sorry. It's a cracking book, though, filled with fascinating detail, much of which does not appear to be commonly known. And the humour is great.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 15 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book, it can be read from cover to cover or you can keep in on the shelf and dip into it as and when required. The book doesn't go into any great detail on the events that it mentions but then that is taken for granted as this is a simple overview of the situation and the reader can always read other boooks to find a fuller expenation of the events discribed. Well worth the time to read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opening 3 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very well researched introduction to what the British army has been up to for the last few centuries. It is designed for a British audience but it also takes account of the sensibilities of the countries we've invaded. For example, the situation in Cyprus was very well summarised with a balanced view. This can be difficult to do.

It is also well balanced as it describes British military victories as well as our defeats showing that our army wasn't invincible.

It can be a bit tedious to read from cover to cover. This isn't a criticism of the author, it is just that the British army has done much the same thing in every country with a coastline and many without! For this reason, it is better to dip in and out of the book to enjoy this wealth of information.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Packaged post-imperialism 26 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author describes this as a "modest little book" but the premise is interesting and it is a good read as long as you are not bored by military history. Perhaps its publication signals the end of post-imperial embarrassment. Any remaining members of the League of Empire Loyalists will find it offensive, feeling that it belittles the serious business of acquiring and retaining an empire. For the rest of us it is a populist read that is informative and entertaining.

The book has 215 pages plus a short conclusion containing maps of where we have been and a set of black and white photos of military statues in London. The recipient countries are arranged alphabetically into 12 chapters starting from "Afghanistan to Burundi" through to "Yemen to Zimbabwe", which is quite an imperial stretch. For decoration the first page of each chapter has a watermark of a Britannia figure, which is a good idea except that the watermark is too heavy and makes the reading of the first page more difficult.

The author deliberately stretches the definition of "invaded" to include short military interventions and actions by pirates, privateers and armed explorers. He also concentrates on the more unusual and less well known actions. As he says: "This isn't so much supposed to be an account of our invasions, rather it's intended to whet the readers' appetite to go in search of more information elsewhere". The readers themselves will have to decide where they go as this book has no bibliography. Some examples from the 191 entries are given below.

BURKINA FASO was formerly called Upper Volta and was a French colony. Originally it was a collection of African kingdoms. In 1898 the British went to the aid of one of these kingdoms against the French.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a perfect coffee table book, so why is the hardback version standard novel size with very small type?
I thought this would have been a larger format and type than what arrived (no I did not check, I just assumed) but as I bought it as a present for my father I will have to buy him a magnifier to go with it now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining 13 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the tone of the book as it breezes through history and covers the globe.
It provides plenty of introductions to people, places and events that are largely forgotten by most people these days. It doesn't go into much depth about any of the events, but in a small book covering such a huge topic, that's understandable
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book 4 Jan 2013
A nice coffee table (or toilet) read. The only reason that I have given it 4 stars instead of 5, is because of some inaccuracies with the dates of the incidents during the 1999 East Timor deployment (I was there!). The author does welcome feedback and admits that there may be errors within his research. Other than that, it is a compelling read!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mistakes in the Book 18 Mar 2013
By A Customer
Format:Kindle Edition
The book was never meant to be a "historical" detailed account of the invasions of these countries but rather an overview of some of the events that took place during some of those invasions or non-invasions. Having said that, the statements made on pages 64, 74, 119, 122 and 136-140 are mostly wrong. A simple example would be Israel. We never invaded Israel. Actually, Israel did not exist until 1948. Its existence as I am sure Mr. Laycock knows was based on the partition of Palestine by the "winners" of the Second World War. The country was, and still is, called Palestine. That is the "Holy Land" he refers to in other pages when he talks about the crusades. The same can be said of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. I would suggest that "A line in the sand" by James Barr might help Mr. Laycock correct some of those glaring errors.

Entertainment is fine but we must respect the facts even if we are trying to make people enjoy history as a "story".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A really interesting and very well set out book, love the way the author has organised the book by country and talks about the less known wars, I am really enjoying it!
Published 2 months ago by M. Joseph Hills
4.0 out of 5 stars War Book
Chose the rating because my husband thinks it's interesting ! It was a good idea for a present. Originally meant as a Christmas present.
Published 3 months ago by Banjogirl
5.0 out of 5 stars A quick overview of Britain's world conquests
This book is not too serious and is by no means comprehensive, although the author says that anybody who wishes to read about specific episodes should look elsewhere. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Peter Durward Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Breif and Entertaining History
This is a relatively short book of military history which has been written in an entertaining, easily readable style. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Travel Bug
4.0 out of 5 stars All the Countries We've Ever Invaded
Bought as a present for someone I thought would enjoy the book but I have had no feedback so far.
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. P. U. Sedwards
4.0 out of 5 stars JOLLY GOOD FUN
Very good read, thoroughly enjoyed it. Never realized how many countries we had actually invaded, but I'm sure it was for their own good! Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jean Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Present
Bought this for my sister as she had requested it for her Christmas present from me and family. She was thankful.
Published 6 months ago by Carla
5.0 out of 5 stars Codition excellent
Perfect condition thank you. No bumps or scratches. Definitely worthy of five stars. Now I am looking forward to reading it
Published 6 months ago by Robert Gurley
4.0 out of 5 stars An Eye-Opening Read
This was the first book I purchased on my Kindle and I was very pleased that I did decide to buy it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dutch Bennie
4.0 out of 5 stars countries we've invaded
This is a christmas present for my husband so I don't know if it's any good. It's of a good quality and I've loked the few pages i've glanced at.
Published 7 months ago by welsh dragon
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