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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume I: The Origins of Empire [Kindle Edition]

Wm Roger Louis , Nicholas Canny
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Volume I of The Oxford History of the British Empire explores the origins of empire. It shows how and why
England, and later Britain, became involved with transoceanic navigation, trade, and settlement during
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As late as 1630 involvement with regions beyond the traditional confines of Europe was still tentative; by 1690 it had become a firm commitment. The Origins of Empire explains how commercial and, eventually, territorial expansion brought about fundamental change, not only in the parts of America, Africa, and Asia that came under British influence, but also in domestic society and in Britain's relations with other European powers.

The chapters, by leading historians, both illustrate the interconnections between developments in Europe and overseas and offer specialist studies on every part of the world that was substantially affected by British colonial activity. Their analysis also focuses on the ethical issues that were presented by the encounter with peoples previously unknown to Europeans, and on the ways in which the colonists struggled to justify their conduct and activities.

Series blurb

The Oxford History of the British Empire is a major new assessment of the Empire in the light of recent
scholarship and the progressive opening of historical records. From the founding of colonies in North America and the West Indies in the seventeenth century to the reversion of Hong Kong to China at the end of the twentieth, British imperialism was a catalyst for far-reaching change. The Oxford History of the British Empire as a comprehensive study allows us to understand the end of Empire in relation to its beginnings, the meaning of British imperialism for the ruled as well as the
rulers, and the significence of the British Empire as a theme in world history.

Product Description


The writing is throughout lucid and unpretentious, the judgements sensible and stimulating and the scholarship fully abreast of recent developments ... a timely and accomplished volume. (English Historical Review)

Professor Louis himself is not merely supremely well qualified on grounds of scholarship, but is also a man of integrity, generosity of mind and, above all, wisdom. These first two of what is to be a five-volume History will surely put at rest any lingering fears that the work might be prejudiced or in any other way inadequate ... a comprehensive picture of the early years of the imperialist adventure ... the Oxford History will be something that most general readers will like to have on their shelves to consult from time to time ... If the rest of the work is carried out with similar authority, with the same magisterial design and craftmanship in the detail, this will be an achievement of which the editors and the University Press can be properly proud. (Philip Ziegler, Daily Telegraph)

Splendid and endlessly fascinating history of the most splendid and fascinating of all empires ... this looks like becoming a useful and generally very fair survey which should help even academics distinguish between the ethics of the British in search of empire and those of, let us say, the French ... this does what a serious history should do, and allows the reader to come to his own conclusions. (Philip Hensher, Spectator)

Meticulously planned and flawlessly executed, providing texts that are both scholarly and accessible. The combination of thematic chapters on the empire as a whole, and regional ones on particular parts of it, is especially effective ... Another notable feature is the objectivity and sensitivity with which the contributors handle emotive and controversial subjects. (Simon C. Smith, Times Higher Education Supplement)

Fresh... important, interesting as well as judicious, thoughtful as well as scholarly. Throughout, this is an important and thought-provoking volume. (Jeremy Black, Albion)

About the Author

Nicholas Canny is Professor of History at University College, Galway.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4104 KB
  • Print Length: 548 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0198205627
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (26 July 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008DVVM9Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #434,341 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joined-up history 1 April 2003
By A Customer
The ambitious armchair historian should always be on the lookout for opportunities to graduate away from coffee-table glosses, but checking out the original research is difficult, time-consuming and, well, dull. What we need more of are half-way house books: collections of essays and review articles by professional historians about related topics that give us slightly more information than we need. It was a pleasure therefore to stumble on this series, and in particular this first volume.
I doubt if I am alone in tending to compartmentalise later Tudor and Stuart history. The blast furnace, the defeat of the Armada, the Pilgrim Fathers and Pocahontas, Captain Morgan, Wexford and Glencoe don’t immediately seem to have much to do with each other, but this book shows how they are all intimately connected. I bet you didn’t realise that it was sugar, tobacco and opportunities in New England that kept Southern Ireland from having the same ethnic mix as the North now has.
The book isn’t perfect. The quality of the writing is mixed. Some of the essays are heavy going. But if you want a better understanding of this formative period I recommend making the effort and reading it through. (Volume 2 is good too, but more about that elsewhere.)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent start to a very good series 16 Dec. 2008
By Lehigh History Student - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nicholas Canny in the origins of Empire organizes historians into the key categories on the foundation of the British Empire. By taking not only a macro approach and looking at how the empire developed through trade, seapower, and technology but also a micro approach. Each author walks the reader through their area of expertise and the development of how each colony came into existence is clear. This truly is a study in early world history as the reader is taken around the world from the shores of Bombay to the wilds of the early North American continent and the Indians that interacted with empire. It also assesses what one might call the development of the domestic empire by analyzing Ireland and Scotland. As no study of the time period would be complete without NAM Rodger's seapower analysis and Canny's immigration theories this book really does have it all. For those who want to understand the development of the British Empire this is the essential book to own and a must read for those who love British and Atlantic world history.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tough slogging through this one 1 Feb. 2014
By Wayne D Wells - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoy reading about English history in general, but this is a book I have to take small chunks of at a time. Some of the chapters are a little on the obscure side in my opinion.
The chapters appear to be written by different people, so it is hard to come to grips with a particular writing style. Once you get in tune with a style, a new section comes along, along with perhaps an obscure subject written in a different style.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written book 22 Jun. 2013
By Austin T. Foley - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I would say this book is well written and interesting. It isn't the best history writing, but the different authors cover their topics well and I never felt like giving up on the book from boredom.
3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for History Buffs 17 Oct. 2007
By piomio - Published on
If you are a history buff then this is the book for you. It gives you a lot of detail. I plan on getting the other books in this series. It is top notch and a must have for anyone that seriously wants to study history.
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