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Empire: The British Imperial Experience from 1765 to the Present Paperback – 19 Dec 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 554 pages
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris; Rev Upd edition (19 Dec. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848859953
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848859951
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 527,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"'An excellent book... The treatment by Professor Judd cannot be faulted...[he] comes to balanced and sensible conclusions...He also gives an admirable chronology.' (The Times) 'The best general history on the subject now available...always stimulating and absorbing and sometimes an unrivalled tour d'horizon.' (Irish Times)"

From the Back Cover

The British Empire radically altered the modern world. At its height, it governed over a quarter of the human race, and encompassed more than a fifth of the globe. As well as providing the British people with profits and a sense of international purpose, the Empire afforded them the opportunity to create new lives for themselves through migration and settlement. For those it dominated and controlled, the Empire often represented arbitrary power, gunboat diplomacy, the disruption of local customs and government by a distant and sometimes coldly unsympathetic administration. Yet while it rested ultimately upon military force and direct rule, the Empire also pulsated with ideals – of freedom, democracy, and even equality.

"A detailed, colony-by-colony and episode-by-episode narrative, written with great thoroughness and keen analysis. It is also very well written and will become an indispensable one-volume source for anyone concerned to know about the most important non-domestic institution created by the British during their existence as a single nation."
JOHN KEEGAN, 'Literary Review'

"Wonderfully ambitious … a pungent and attractive survey of the British Empire from 1765 to the present."
LINDA COLLEY, 'London Review of Books'

"The best general history on the subject now available … always stimulating and absorbing and sometimes an unrivalled tour d'horizon."
FRANK McLYNN, 'Irish Times'

"Thoroughly readable … can be recommended to students as much as to the general reader."
C.A. BAYLY, 'Times Higher Educational Supplement'

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
Many of us who know little about the British Empire have a very specific, sometimes idealised view of it. Denis Judd's well-researched, insightful book deals precisely and definitvely with conventional viewpoints of Empire as repression or enlightenment of native races. In his book he argues coherently that Empire was not a 'grand plan' of the British government but rather a mish-mash, making 'the best of a bad job'. I found the whole book to be a remarkable appraisal of the state of Empire over the last two centuries and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in history.
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By F Henwood TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is a mixed bag.

When it comes to scope and breadth, then it certainly has plenty of both. It starts with prelude to the American Revolution in the 1770s and ends with Nelson Mandela’s election as South African President in 1994. Along the way we get a series of vignettes of British rule in various lands. What emerges is not one empire but several, with no overall plan and the relationship between colonised and coloniser resisting simple analysis. It is a survey of the Empire and its aftermath with a discussion of key developments in the progress of the Commonwealth, the loose international organisation of successor states to the empire. There is a lot of interesting information and it is better on straightforward political history, with the sections of the evolution of dominion status in the ‘white’ colonies especially good. It is also good on providing a decent, nuanced analysis of the Indian uprising in 1857-58 – much of the country actually remained quiet, and many of the ‘British’ troops who suppressed the uprising with great brutality were not even white.

While it is good on political history, it is weaker on providing an analytical framework in pulling all the pieces of the Empire assembled for examination together. No answers appear to be attempted at resolving key questions: how far did the Empire contribute to Britain’s prosperity, if at all? What was the overall balance sheet? To what extent did locals actually willingly cooperate with the colonisers? The duration and longevity of the Empire cannot have been down to repression of the threat of repression alone. It is often noted that the British divided and ruled. This is true but misleading. Existing divisions existed among the colonised to allow the British to colonise them in the first place.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To read about the British Empire is to read about part of the history of many countries in almost all the continents in the world. I don't think I should be called anglophile, but If I had to pick the country with the more interesting and richest History, that for sure is the History of the British people. By reading this compelling pages, my opinion about the aftermath of all this is positive. Of course it was not perfect -- there were problems, violence, oppression, but if you look at Singapore, Honk Kong, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and others, I think is fair to say that British rule was positive, even more when it is compared to other expansionist European countries. Although India was the jewel of the empire, things here were complicated indeed, and even more difficult in Africa. The last country to achieve its independence in Africa was Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe, and with its first elected President Robert Mugabe, who still runs the country --- seems not to had been a good idea.

One good idea of the British, strategically speaking, was its pursue of dominion on any free island in the world. President Roosevelt even claimed once that "the British would take any land in the world, even if it were only a rock or a sanbar" --- I laughed at this comment but I think it was made in a moment when the United States resented some of the world presence of the British. Another good idea was the creation of the Commonwealth, a place of cooperation of the members and ex-members of this empire. Not least important were the sports, especially cricket and rugby, both invented by the British that undoubtedly still unite the members of this commonwealth.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x99492f24) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9948dbf4) out of 5 stars Great analysis of the Rise and Fall of the British Empire 24 Sept. 2007
By Lehigh History Student - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dennis Judd's book on the history of the British Empire is not a day by day approach to empire but a focus on the most important events that shaped that empire. Things such as the India uprising in 1857 or the work of Cecil Rhodes are the main focus. The stories that are chosen do an excellent job of showing how the empire developed and the path it took to formation. This really is the best single volume work on the British Empire in terms of a pure history. The book covers all parts of the empire and has interesting vignettes such as the formation of the boy scouts. It also covers some of the major internal domestic squabbles within Great Britain as they relate to empire. I found that the discussions on how world war 1 and 2 affected the empire were very accurate and to the point. The reader can get a very good sense of how the British were drained of resources by the wars and see the effect this had on empire. As nationalistic movements took root in the various countries the British found it more difficult to control. Particularly with the end of Lend Lease by Truman the British were forced to grant independence to their colonies. The last few chapters focus on the remaining parts of the empire and how they fit into the commonwealth including the struggle with the Falkland Islands. If the reader wants a much more detailed account of the empire try to the Oxford history five volume British Empire. Judd's account is very readable and well done for those wanting a review of the salient points in the Empire's history.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9809e240) out of 5 stars Get the Lawrence James book instead 9 April 2008
By History buff, reader, person with name, etc - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a historian I find that Mr Judd makes far too many ignorant and simplistic mistakes in this book for me to overlook. For instance he makes no distinction between Australia's or South Africa's Dominion status and Southern Rhodesia's self governing status, something anyone who studies the subject should know, the difference is remarkably important and greatly influenced why white-rule and segregation were eventually ended in that country (today Zimbabwe). His tone on the matter of self-governing settlers and his refusal to distinguish between Dominions and self-governing colonies (of which Southern Rhodesia was the only one) strongly implies that Britain was capable of dictating foreign policy to Australia and Canada during the 20th century! He also focuses an unnecessary amount on who was homosexual and he devotes dozens of pages to sexuality, particularly homosexuality throughout the Empire, which is childish and very beside the point. He also makes lazy broad generalizations such as referring to places like Burma and Ceylon as being part of the Raj in India; they were British territories but they were never in fact governed by the Raj, they were crown colonies with appointed governors much like Nigeria or Bermuda, Judd show's a remarkable inability to get these sorts of details right and there are so many of them that as someone who studies the British Empire in much depth this book was disgruntling and I find it to frankly be irresponsible to publish something so subtley and casually inaccurate and call yourself a historian. The amount of demonizing of the British that again, he does very subtly seems to hint and some sort of either Anglophobia or since he is from Britain, a distinct sense of self-loathing and which compounds his inaccuracies and gives me the impression he has some sort of angle here other than that of a historian. Do not buy this book if you want a good book on the history of the British Empire, as someone who is relatively obsessed with the topic, I would recommend the Rise and Fall of the British Empire by Lawrence James.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97ee2b28) out of 5 stars A vivid, detailed analysis of the Empire 24 Mar. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book looks at specific events over the course of the history of the British Empire, and analyzes each in telling detail. A wonderful introduction seemingly designed for those, like me, who are fascinated by the British Empire and who want an overall introduction to its complicated history.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97ed4f18) out of 5 stars Objective analysis of causes & effects of British Imperialis 10 Sept. 1997
By - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The author has conducted a thorough analysis of the real reasons behind english imperial expansion from 18th century onwards and presented the effects of this in it's context.
Very enjoyable reading...
Interesting to see how present governments are reacting identically to similiar geo-political issues.
HASH(0xa14981f8) out of 5 stars For Class 5 Feb. 2013
By Roman Ambriz - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this for my British history class, gave a lot of great information, but it was in really bad condition, but still usable.
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