- 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)
Pax Britannica (Pax Britannica 2) Paperback – 4 Oct 2012
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'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
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.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jan Morris's history of British imperialism is a terrific read - a real classic of 20th century history writing.Published 6 months ago by Mr. J. Sutcliffe