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Good but blinkered
on 22 April 2006
This is a very well written and detailed account of the empire. The writer keeps you interested and covers most of the main events very well. However, where it fails is in the blinkered attitude towards English misbehaviour during the existence of the empire. Almost no mention is made of the countless attrocities carried out in the name of the empire. 2 key examples are the Irish and Indian famines, both at least in part a result of British behaviour. These 2 incidents which killed millions are given no more than a few sentences. British war crimes are barely mentioned whereas native crimes are often described. A good read, but casts doubt on whether a British writer can subjectively write about the empire, which was effectively just the pillaging of the world and the subjugation of anyone who got in the way. From reading this book, you would seriously think that the empire existed for the benefit of all, not simply the english upper classes.