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on 29 January 2015
Such a vast period of History, starting with Sovereign backed pirates and thugs all out for personal gain to the real collapse of Empire in 1947, which on retrospect mostly seemed to have left a final beneficial effect (railways, communications, sanitation and a whiff of democracy). This book is a great read if you don't want to get bogged down in all the small detail of 300 years of British expansion and then demise. The original Empire builders were men of great military and commercial foresight. The French had great tracks of sand in North Africa, but the Brits took Gibraltar, no bigger than a postage stamp... but you couldn't get into the Med without passing Gib. The same with South Africa, crossing from the Atlantic into the Indian Ocean you had to be on friendly terms with the Brits (food and water) etcetc every strategic port around the world was a focal point for the Empire..... read this book if you want the flavour, warts and all, of an incredible period of history.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 March 2018
Although quite scholarly, this magisterial account of the British Empire is very readable as well as informative. The author presents a balanced account of both the highs and lows involved in governing three quarters of the Earth's land surface and millions of lives. Usefully, he also compares the British Empire with its rivals: while by no means overlooking its faults, he overall finds in its favour. In other words, no-one proposes running empires today, but when doing so was simply what prominent European powers did, Britain emerged with credit relative to the other colonial powers. And without ignoring the significant problems that did occur (notably in India), the same cautiously positive note can be sounded for the relative orderliness with which the British Empire was dismantled compared to what happened with others.

Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in how the modern world came to be (as per the book's subtitle).
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on 2 May 2018
This book explains a great deal of what went on behind the scenes leading up to Indian independence. Sad to say, but the British do not come out of it looking blameless and perhaps the course of world history would have been very different if Mountbatten had not been involved.
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on 4 October 2016
I'm a groupie of Niall Ferguson. Read many of his books. This is not the best one I read from this author but it filled some gaps in my knowledge about empires in general and the UK and US in particular.
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on 27 May 2018
Awesome book, enjoyed every minute. A fascinating history told by an excellent writer. I found it really easy to read and just enough detail to wet the appetite for more reading.
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on 28 September 2016
Niall Ferguson is without doubt the most stimulating of the modern historian/philosophers.
He is challenging, irritating, opinionated, humorous, frequently wrong but mostly right. I love him.
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on 2 April 2018
Great item.
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on 20 June 2018
A very interesting book. Not as weighty as some and moves along at a good pace.
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on 28 June 2014
A splendid academic account of Empire with a lightness of touch which makes it an easy read. While Ferguson attempts a balanced view, in the main not flinching from the legion of atrocities committed, his narrative is written from the English or British point of view. One of those colonized or exploited by Empire might have a different point of view.
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on 7 January 2017
Niall Ferguson is always worth a read
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