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Pax Britannica (Pax Britannica 2) Paperback – 4 Oct 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • Pax Britannica (Pax Britannica 2)
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  • Farewell the Trumpets (Pax Britannica 3)
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  • Heaven's Command (Pax Britannica 1)
Total price: £37.41
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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (4 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057129071X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571290710
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 3.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 333,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'A work to which that perilous word 'classic' may now be properly applied ... In scholarship and humour this portrait of the British Empire before its decline and fall might, without undue optimism, be placed upon the same shelf as Edward Gibbon's history. As a survey of its subject, I doubt that Pax Britannica can ever, in this generation, be surpassed.' --Financial Times

'A marvellous account of what the Empire was like.' --Daily Express

'Ebulliently readable. Morris has admirably captured the confusion of the brilliance and squalor, dynamic energy and bizarre comedy that made up the imperial picture of 1897.' --The Economist

Packed with colourful and significant detail'. --New York Times Book Review

Book Description

The second instalment of the Pax Britannica Trilogy by Jan Morris captures the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1987 and portrays the confusion of a nation filled with poverty and squalor, brilliance and splendour.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the complete trilogy is most interesting as are all Jan Morris' books. Bought this for an American friend who does a lot of business in Africa and who is finding the book fascinating.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a first class book
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The year 1897 is the peg upon which Jan Morris hangs her overview of the British Empire in the hour of its greatest glory. 1897 because it was the year of Victoria's golden jubilee, Queen for sixty years. As we approach a similar milestone in the reign of Elizabeth II the book acquires added piquancy.

All over the map of the world in 1897 red marked the extent of British influence: "a begrudging kind of paradise," Morris calls it. A paradoxical paradise, too, for there was little uniformity to bind the various patches of land - from tiny atolls to semi-continents - which variably ruled themselves while always being subject to Victoria's government. "Legally," the author writes, "there was no such thing as a British Empire. It had no constitutional meaning. Physically, too, it was a kind of fiction, or bluff, in that it implied a far stronger power at the centre than really existed."

But it worked. Strengths and weaknesses everywhere, but still it worked. There can be no greater praise for this book than to say that it encompasses the whole, black, white and grey, while constantly illuminating it with the detail. I quickly abandoned making notes; they were already too numerous to marshall sensibly. Page after page offers a telling vignette, a memorable phrase. At random, then, this miniature of life in the Raj: "The soldiers flirted in the public gardens. The officers played polo, sailed their yachts in the harbour, and sometimes went to cockfights, abetted by local Irishmen with fingers along the sides of their noses." In a few dozen words, the reader is taken there, seeing it as it was.

This is serious history, seriously told, always enlivened, never cheapened, by Morris's love of a quirky anecdote.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This volume is full of facts and anecdotes, not quite sure where the author is coming from.
One minute we are admiring the achievements of the empire builders ,the next paragraph is sneering at the whole of the concept.
I read this volume almost to the end, not sure whether I'll start the other two volumes.
Little sense of narrative, couldn't feel any empathy.
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