What is most interesting about this book, written by a person from the most populous Commonwealth country and who was previously in the Commonwealth bureaucracy, is that the organiszation greatly assisted Britain's post-imperial adjustment but once that adjustment had taken place it lost its reason for being, and drifted from one African crisis to another, ending with Zimbabwe. The body has failed to be a beacon of good governance or an impetus to development, and has therefore not lived up to its own stated principles. The author believes the end of the Commonwealth is nigh and who can doubt him ? The almost complete lack of coverage of the recent Malta summit only confirms its irrelevance. To quote the author " The only purpose of the Commonwealth is to look for a purpose". The quotations in this book are apt and at times very witty. As he says, the current debates on empires beg the reality that empires based on smoke and mirrors, without real hegemony and power to back them up, are bound to fail. An extremely informative and thought-provoking book, written by a person who obviously knows his subject, and whose views are therefore of great interest.
As the title of the book would suggest, the author is sceptical about the survivability of the Commonwealth. The book is timely, when several international organisations seem to have reached the end of their shelf-life, such as the non-aligned movement, the western European Union and others. Even the efficacy of the UN is increasingly called into question. The author being from the "third world" and a former high-level executive in the London-centred Commonwealth of course gives the book additional validity and it does not shrink from controversy, especially since the author feels that only a stronger role by Britain can revive the prospects of the organisation. His comparisons with other post-colonial bodies make interesting reading and especially his observation that la Francophonie and others like it were created long after the process of decolonisation was concluded, making them very different and more relevant in contempoary international politics.
This is a timely, well-researched and well-written book from the perspective of an Indian diplomat who has first-hand experience of the inner workings of the Commonwealth. His observations on the failure of the organization to perform a meaningful role in either the politicalor development area nowdays are interesting, and so are his views that the salvation of the body cannot be expected and that its decline began even as early as the 1960s. There are several post-war organizations that might have the same said about them.