Top positive review
44 people found this helpful
An exciting picture of how the British Empire was made.
on 5 April 2001
The British Empire at one time encompassed a quarter of the globe, from countries as immense and diverse as India to ones as tiny as Tristan da Cunha. Jan Morris has the rare skill of not only painting the large canvas of history, but also of illuminating for her readers the daily life of distant quarters of the Victorian empire. She writes with warmth and affection of Zulus and Maoris, of Quebecois and Boers, of explorers suffering terrible ordeals, of be-whiskered colonial politicians in London and dear old Queen Victoria herself. She writes with a pleasing absence of political correctness, seeing the Empire not only in the currently fashionable way as an instrument of exploitation, but also as a power for good. She introduces us to colonialists dedicated to the welfare of their subjects, as well as those out to feather their own nests. And the texture of the book is typical Jan Morris - crafted in such a way that you at last understand what it was all about, and why it happened.