Empire: The British Imperial Experience from 1765 to the Present Paperback – 19 Dec 2011
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"'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'
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Very enjoyable reading...
Interesting to see how present governments are reacting identically to similiar geo-political issues.