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Farewell the Trumpets: An Imperial Retreat [Hardcover]

Morris James
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jan 1978

Jan Morris traces the momentous decline and fall of the greatest of empires - from Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee to the death of Winston Churchill in 1965. With characteristic brilliance, this masterpiece of narrative history describes the long retreat and final dissolution of the British Empire.

'The British Empire is fortunate in having found in Morris a chronicler and memorialist who can do it justice. Although it is a sad story, the telling of it is marvellously vigorous and compelling. Morris, like Edward Gibbon, writes with an inspired gusto, firmly rooted in erudition which carries the book into the realms of literature.' Sunday Telegraph

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harcourt; Reprint edition (1 Jan 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151304041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151304042
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 15 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,374,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Jan Morris was born in 1926 of a Welsh father and an English mother, and when she is not travelling she lives with her partner Elizabeth Morris in the top left-hand corner of Wales, between the mountains and the sea. Her books include Coronation Everest, Venice, The Pax Britannica Trilogy (Heaven's Command, Pax Britannica, and Farewell the Trumpets), and Conundrum. She is also the author of six books about cities and countries, two autobiographical books, several volumes of collected travel essays and the unclassifiable Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere. A Writer's World, a collection of her travel writing and reportage from over five decades, was published in 2003. Hav, her novel, was published in a new and expanded form in 2006. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By G. M. Sinstadt VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jan Morris's contribution to the history of the British Empire will only be truly measured as future generations turn to a series of books that will surely stand the test of time. This trilogy is a supreme example of how to marry the past with the present, to allow the triumphs and follies behind us to illuminate the way forward for those with eyes to read and independent minds to think. Perhaps sensing this, she writes, "... the post-imperial generation is passing by, and the mass of the British people know little of their lost Empire, and care still less."

And yet within these pages there is so much worth understanding. In Farewell the Trumpets there are great names in the foreground: T E Lawrence, Gandhi, Smuts and Churchill, politicians, statesmen and generals. Lesser mortals, too, for not the least of Morris's gifts is her ability to portray a person in an anecdote, evoke a mood with a poem, reawaken a moment in time with a musty cutting. There is ample humour for Morris loves a good joke. Most of the places of which she writes she has visited, many of the people she has met. And just once, the meticulous, even-handed historian gives way to the proud writer, and then only in a characteristically wry footnote: "The imperturbable Mufti settled after the war in Egypt - where I met him, I cannot resist recording, at the wedding of the King of Libya."

These three books represent a decade of travel, investigation, exploration and conversation. Five stars do them scant justice.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never has history seemed to interesting 12 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This trilogy of history made interesting and amusing with wonderfull odd letters and accounts poems and songs makes this the bast history read ever.I now understand so much more of my country and why things happened excellent.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, reads like a novel, not history! 12 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This, together with the other 2 books in this trilogy by Morris remain among my favourite books. The rich storytelling, the attention to detail and the many amusing footnotes to the history of the British Empire are fascinating. I have been to many of the places Morris describes, and he brings them to life, even now.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This is the third in Morris' trilogy on the British Empire, with Heaven's Command (1973) charting the birth and rise of the empire, Pax Brittanica (1968) its apogee in 1897, and Farewell the Trumpets (1978) the 20th century decline, an "imperial retreat from glory".

Though she says "I have not been concerned so much with wat the British Empire *meant*, as what it felt like" the lucky reader is treated to both meaning and feeling. I think this is a brilliant book, and I can re-read it at intervals: the jokes! the footnotes! the titillating snippets of obscure information! the irony, the empathy, the glorious writing. What a joy.

this is not an elegy - but not an accusation, either. It is a mood piece, at times melancholy, at times hardboiled and direct. Much of the time it is suffused with gentle irony, and then suddenly you are jolted by a trenchant sentence, as in summarizing Delamere's and Lugard's ideas of empire: "the Kenya Africans would be serfs; the Nigerians, exhibits in a folk museum." It is pithy and to the point. it is also tinged with an affectionate melancholy. In carefully sought-out detail, we get the spirit of empire, and the ridiculousness; beauty, dirt, blood and waste. There are fascinating vignettes of personalities like Smuts, Mary kingsley, Gino Watkins; of places like Calgary, Gallipoli, Magersfontein and Suez; we see Gandhi meet King George V.
I think it is a wonderful book. As Morris says, "it was time the Empire went, but it was sad to see it go." And she manages to make you feel the same, which is a pretty good accomplishment!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pax Britannica 9 Mar 2013
By Alan
Format:Paperback
I bought the 'Pax Britannica' Trilogy on talking books through Audible. I really want to say this is a super series. I am an author and I got a lot of helpful information.The readers on the series are brilliant and the content is wonderful.I listen to them in bits and am on my third listening.Jan put a lot of work and research into these and I take great pleasure in recommending them and the excellent readers that bring the pages to life,with stuff like this history is certainly NOT dull. Recommend you listen to them in sequence and great the way footnotes become part of the story. Happy listening !!!!!
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