Customer Review

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timely revisionism, 6 Jan 2013
This review is from: Britain's Empire: Resistance, Repression and Revolt (Hardcover)
Got this book recommended by a friend of mine. I thought it was quite an interesting and enlightening read. Yes, it does sound a bit biased at times - but then again couldn't the same thing be said about Niall Ferguson, Jan Morris and all those other defenders of the idea of empire. In stark, no-nonsense prose, Gott highlights the wide variety of crimes committed by those wanting to displace native peoples and replace them with non-indigenous settlers. The range of crimes committed against the natives is indeed shocking and includes (among other things) the deliberate spreading of smallpox (as in the case of the north American territories) and the government-backed use of death squads ( for example, against the aborigines in Tasmania or the Xhosa people in South Africa). If the book has a fault, it is its somewhat rambling, episodic structure. As another reviewer has said, Gott seems to jump from one thing to the other, with the narrative swinging from Africa to Australia and back within the course of just a few pages. Also, another criticism: Gott seem hellbent on including every last instance of mutinous dissatisfaction against the British - including what seem to me like fairly trite expressions of popular discontent. Overall, the book is to be applauded, though, for it reminds us once again of the evils of forced colonisation. PS: I wanted to give the book 3 stars, but I'm going to give it four because I have the very strong impression that many of those who are giving it one star - such as Widget - haven't even read the book. Come on, people. It is one thing to read the book and give it a one-star rating because you didn't like it. But to give the book a one-star rating without even having read it - well, that's just malicious, dogmatic and high-handedly despicable.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Dec 2013 23:50:18 GMT
Azimuth500 says:
Yes, well Gott's book takes the reader only up to 1859 - which only just covers the First Indian War of Independence and the depradations brought to bear by the British on the Xhosa, but predates by several decades the British decimation of the Zulu by Gatling, the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre excuted by Genl Dyer in Amritsar and Kitchener's war crimes against the Boer people in a blatant thrust to grab by sheer brute force the land and its riches. Furthermore, nothing is said in this discussion of the corrosive effects of the British opium trade into China, of the fact that India was forced to produce the opium, that the smuggling trade was enforced by gunboat diplomacy, which ultimately led to the humiliating concession of the island of Hong Kong to Britain, and that 120 million opium addicts were left in China by the time the trade stopped in the C20th.

By the way, with the possible exception of the British Empire's last remaining 'micro-colony', the Falklands, to the best of my knowledge your term 'forced colonisation' may be tautologous: 'colonisation' is by definition, 'forced'!
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