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4.4 out of 5 stars52
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 1 September 2014
A superb video Jeremy Paxman at his very best. Entertaining as well as informative and a new slant on how we Created the Empire. Each video lasts for about 50 minutes and holds you spellbound |Quality very good both from filming to sound.

A very enjoyable journey and if you are into British History this is a must for you.

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on 23 May 2016
This is a fantastic documentary. It shows the Empire did have some qualities to it, but yes, majority of the Empire was bad. With this documentary you get to learn about some unbelievable stories.
I'll definitely watch it again.
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on 3 January 2013
I was very disappointed with this series. I had hoped there would be recognition of some of the acheivements of the Empire, such as the war against the slave trade and railway building. Instead we got a portrayal of the British in the Empire as asset-strippers or lunatics. Paxman's bias is ever-present, as are those of the Empire-haters he chose to interview.

For a credible account by a proper historian stick to Niall Ferguson's "Empire".
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on 25 April 2016
Unfortunately Paxman isn't a good or particularly academic presenter: he is sneery, chippy and very anti-British looking to undermine the Empire at any opportunity . Aside from him the program is just about alright
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on 27 March 2012
I was one of the generation of children who at school in the late 1950s were proudly shown how much of the world map was coloured red indicating that the British had gone to the four corners of the earth over the last 200 years and brought civilisation to those who didn't know the meaning of the word. After being a student of history many years later I found out how the British as a world super power "civilised" these countries and I was no longer proud. It was carried out through a combination of slavery, exploitation, oppression, the exercise of military might, racism and the divide and rule principle. It was certainly not the actions of a benevolent power that went to these countries in order to make the lives of the people living there better.

The tools of the trade for establishing and maintaining the empire were a strong army and a powerful navy that was readilly called upon whenever the natives became restless and had the affrontary to demand freedom from British rule or just civil rights within the empire. This was backed up by thousands of colonial officials and missionaries whose arrogance and feelings of racial superiority knew no bounds. It was not as if everyone living in Britain enjoyed the full fruits of what was looted from the empire. The beneficiaries were a small elite minority - the vast majority of the population lived in varying degres of poverty and deprivation and were exploited in simlar ways to those living within the empire.

Paxman in this fascinating and insightful way shows this very well and I felt his analysis was mostly spot on and balanced. Not everything we British brought to these countries and left there when we departed was bad but the benefits were usually only ways to make our rule easier to carry out rather than because they were introduced in order to help the people we ruled.

Many of the problems this country faces today is a direct result of Britain being an imperial power in the past and this legacy of our own making has come to haunt us in a number of ways ever since. When we withdrew from empire we often left behind a situation that could only end in tears for the people there and this duly happened as we can see on our television sets today whenever we switch on the news.

One factor Paxman did not mention were the consequences of the Japanese defeat and humiliation of British forces in the Far East in 1941 and 1942 in countries like Singapore, Burma and Malaya. This demonstrated to people living in the British empire in Asia that the military juggernaut that had ruled them for so long could be defeated and overthrown and this encouraged people to demand their freedom after 1945 and to fight for their independence.

I recommend everyone to view "Empire" as it is the best recent explanation of how the British empire was set up, how it was maintained and how it fell apart or was transformed into something much better in the space of only 20 short years.
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on 4 February 2015
An interesting series but rather wish Jeremy Paxman had been allowed to make a longer series as the topic is immense and he seems to need to cover the ground too quickly..
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on 16 August 2013
Delivered promptly. This video gives a different purspective to the history of British empire. Now I know why Gandhi was so determined to get rid of British from India.
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on 26 June 2012
I loved this series. Although aspects were quite distasteful at times, it was nevertheless very interesting and accurate. A good choice for the intellectual DVD library.
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on 14 July 2015
let's have more of your work jeremy, accessible and more honest than most so called historians with big TV documentaries, sad they feel they have to hide the 'truths'
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on 26 April 2016
Paxman is critically objective. He provides an alternative look at history in a holistic style as he examines the British empire's global impact.
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