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The Rise, Decline and Future of the British Commonwealth [Paperback]

Krishnan Srinivasan
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: £21.99
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Book Description

15 Jun 2008
Written by a senior Indian diplomat who until recently also served as Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, this book provides a unique and far-reaching exploration of the British Commonwealth and its impact since the second World War on the process of Britain adjusting to a world without Empire. What is its record of achievement? What are the benefits of membership to countries in terms of collective political influence, trade, investment, aid, travel and education? Can any practical good be gotten from this post-colonial organization? Britain, which brought the association into being and is central to it, would have to play a key part in determining its future. But in coming to such decisions, the British Government faces great problems of perception, both from the Monarchy and the British public.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Schol, Print UK; Pbk. Ed edition (15 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230203671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230203679
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 823,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'A masterly and properly controversial assessment of the contemporary Commonwealth...This wide-ranging, unsentimental and sometimes provocative analysis of the post 1945 Commonwealth will be essential reading for students of the decline and fall of the British and other European empires, and the post colonial order, and also for all those interested in the contemporary Commonwealth's attempt to define a role for itself in world politics.' - James Mayall, Professor of International Relations, (Emeritus) University of Cambridge and Fellow of Sidney Sussex College

'Kris Srinivasan's views on the Commonwealth are sometimes controversial and uncomfortable, but he has produced an extremely well informed, well written and well judged book.' - Bill Kirkman, former Commonwealth Staff and Africa Correspondent of The Times

'Srinivasan's book is..an important contribution to a never-ending debate. Commonwealth devotees will not like it but they will not be able to ignore it.' - Stephen Ashton, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History

'Short but provocative...an accessible interpretive account of the Commonwealth, which, beyond its name, has been a largely unknown association in recent decades. The book should be of interest to all who study British foreign policy since 1945 and the end of Empire in particular. '- Marc Frey, H-Soz-u-Kult

'This quietly passionate, sometimes acerbic book should make us all ask: what does the Commonwealth mean to us today?' - Ged Martin, Overseas magazine

'The Rise, Decline and Future of the British Commonwealth is the first serious book-length treatment of the history and prospects of the Commonwealth for many years, and as such deserves both congratulation and close analysis. It is an elegant, informative, and thought-provoking - indeed provocative - book, and as a contribution to the debate over the future of the Commonwealth it is to be welcomed.' - Alex May, The Round Table

'This is a well informed book that can be appreciated at different levels.' - W. David McIntyre, The Round Table

'Srinivasan writes elegantly and there is a wealth of useful material about the contemporary Commonwealth and the "other Commonwealths" of French, Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch connection.' - Stuart Mole, The Round Table

'It will be welcomed for being one of only a few titles that take the Commonwealth seriously as a post Second World War International organization.' - Lucian M. Ashworth, The Round Table

'Krishnan Srinivasan's mid-decade monograph on the origins and roles of the Commonwealth presents a range of challenges, both analytic and applied.' - Tim Shaw, The Round Table

'...offers a revealing cocktail of compelling information about the evolution of the modern Commonwealth. It should qualify as indispensable reading for any student or researcher of Commonwealth history.' - Richard Nzerem, Commonwealth Law Bulletin

Book Description

Written by a senior Indian diplomat, this book provides a unique and far-reaching exploration of the British Commonwealth and its impact since the Second World War.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Is the end of the Commonwealth nigh ? 21 Dec 2005
By A Customer
What is most interesting about this book, written by a person from the most populous Commonwealth country and who was previously in the Commonwealth bureaucracy, is that the organiszation greatly assisted Britain's post-imperial adjustment but once that adjustment had taken place it lost its reason for being, and drifted from one African crisis to another, ending with Zimbabwe. The body has failed to be a beacon of good governance or an impetus to development, and has therefore not lived up to its own stated principles. The author believes the end of the Commonwealth is nigh and who can doubt him ? The almost complete lack of coverage of the recent Malta summit only confirms its irrelevance. To quote the author " The only purpose of the Commonwealth is to look for a purpose". The quotations in this book are apt and at times very witty. As he says, the current debates on empires beg the reality that empires based on smoke and mirrors, without real hegemony and power to back them up, are bound to fail. An extremely informative and thought-provoking book, written by a person who obviously knows his subject, and whose views are therefore of great interest.
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4.0 out of 5 stars History in our time 16 Dec 2005
As the title of the book would suggest, the author is sceptical about the survivability of the Commonwealth. The book is timely, when several international organisations seem to have reached the end of their shelf-life, such as the non-aligned movement, the western European Union and others. Even the efficacy of the UN is increasingly called into question. The author being from the "third world" and a former high-level executive in the London-centred Commonwealth of course gives the book additional validity and it does not shrink from controversy, especially since the author feels that only a stronger role by Britain can revive the prospects of the organisation. His comparisons with other post-colonial bodies make interesting reading and especially his observation that la Francophonie and others like it were created long after the process of decolonisation was concluded, making them very different and more relevant in contempoary international politics.
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This is a timely, well-researched and well-written book from the perspective of an Indian diplomat who has first-hand experience of the inner workings of the Commonwealth. His observations on the failure of the organization to perform a meaningful role in either the politicalor development area nowdays are interesting, and so are his views that the salvation of the body cannot be expected and that its decline began even as early as the 1960s. There are several post-war organizations that might have the same said about them.
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