Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History comes alive., 27 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress (Pax Britannica) (Paperback)
The great thing about Jan Morris is that she brings so many different qualities to her books. Nostalgia, humour, insight, and wonderful storytelling, all of which are present in abundance in this marvelous account of the Genesis of that most remarkable of Empires. It was an Empire that was cruel, repressive, civilising, gracious and compassionate depending on which subject of the Crown was dispensing the rules to the natives. Being a native of one of the former colonies (Ireland) I am all too familiar with the negative aspects of the Empire. Our famine is at once an epic tragedy and also an indictment of the British Empires lack of compassion. On the other hand when you read this book you cannot but admire the great energy and sacrifice of so many loyal British subjects who lived their lives many miles from their native shores and their families in the belief that they were not only doing their duty for queen and country, but also in the belief that they were genuinely bettering the lives of those around them, primarily by spreading Christianity and Civilisation. I think what Jan Morris succeeds in doing is illustrating the futility of trying to sum up the Empire. It has too many sides to it, some good, some bad, but always so very very interesting. I cant wait to read the other two books in the trilogy.
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