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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
32
Rise And Fall Of The British Empire
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on 3 November 2017
An engrossing account encompassing a wide ranging chronology, geography, political and social history of the empire. Written with verve and pace. Highly recommended.
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on 5 April 2017
This excellent and very accessible book provided the story, insight, depth of analysis and objective overview of the British Empire I was looking for. Lawrence James covers huge ground both historically and in terms of global reach (so it's not just about the Boston tea party, the Raj and the scramble for Africa) but a very comprehensive look at all aspects of the BE story. What I really liked about this was the objectivity throughout. He doesn't stray away from the social and psychological impact of the BE - for example it's impact in terms of race and class. What comes across is a clear sense of the way history has impacted world relations and the book is particularly resonant now given the whole issue of Brexit and a more nationalist leaning world. Definitely recommended reading
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on 16 April 2016
Excellent book. Really surprising how little of this history I knew about. This book really should be on everyone's shelves - and certainly in schools!

Firstly the author has structured this book in an extremely well thought out manner - mainly chronological, but augmented with different aspects of the Empire. Each aspect can be read and understood on its own.

Secondly while maybe a little short on original research, much use made of historical quotes from secondary sources - which allow the author to display the various prejudices in their original context without having to be "all PC" and modern about it. This approach works well.

So no nicely constructed, engaging, well written book - informative and balanced, with no jingoism but equally no hand wringing!
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on 11 August 2017
The Rise and Fall of the British Empire by Lawrence James is a very good book examining its history from the Elizabethan Age to the 1990s. It is well-written and informative, while providing an interesting overview of four centuries of British history.

Moreover, although limited by the fact that it is a general history, the author provides a relatively balanced view exploring both the positive and negative impacts and effects of the British Empire.

All in all, a very good book.
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on 12 August 2017
you will not like what you hear about the British in this book
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on 22 June 2001
The British Empire is a vast and complex historical subject. However, Lawrence James manages easily to detail its growth and decline in a manner that is not only highly informative, but thourghly enjoyable to read. His writing style is laid back and the sheer volume of historical detail he packs into every chapter is breathtaking. His selective use of seemingly insignificant anecdotes draws the reader into the book, even provoking the occasional snigger (something not always associated with history!). "The Rise and Fall of the British Empire" is a fantastic study that anybody with even a fleeting interest in Britain's Imperial history and legacy should read.
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on 25 June 2000
The history of the British Empire has always been somewhat controversial: some of it good, some of it bad. This book clearly and articulately discusses the origins of Empire, its growth and its inevitable demise. Lawrence James treats the issue intelligently, and comes to some outstanding conclusions. And not only that, we get to learn some of the more subtle reasons behind anti-imperialism in countries such as the United States and the book covers a multitude of other topics. A must-read indeed!
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VINE VOICEon 30 October 2001
In these post imperial days it seems that we are too guilt ridden to view the history of the British Empire in context. Mr. James sets out to bring us the history of the empire in terms which though perhaps not totally impartial (he appears to believe on balance it was a good thing)are not jaundiced by dogma.
The British were never completely comfortable with the concept of empire. Driven by the two goals of trade and settlement, the British Empire almost came about by accident. Mr. James is excellent at showing how British attitudes towards empire changed throughout the imperial period. Starting from almost indifference at the beginning, to national obession by the end of the 19th century. The story of the British Empire is one which has touched the lives of almost a 1/4 of the worlds population. Mr. James makes the point that the empire might have died, but that it's influence will linger for a long while yet. A worthwhile read
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on 7 September 2000
The Rise and Fall of the British Empire is a majestic sweep through four hundred years of Imperial history. In relating the events as they actually happened and in the context of contemporary events, and not bowing to the disapproving gaze of post-colonial Marxist revisionists, James has produced a breathtaking book that creates and follows through a lucid argument and makes the reader want to turn the page to find out more. The breadth of the book is amazing and serves as an excellent jumping-off pad for more detailed study of specific aspects of imperial history.
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James' reading of History and English shows throughout this book. He has chronologically portrayed the rise and fall of the British Empire with snippets of poems and literature - relevant to the time. The book gives the ignorant a good introduction to the empire and the underlying reasons for it's creation and fall. James never leaves the 'beaten track' in this narrative, but provides almost infinite ideas for further reading within this vast subject. Excellent!!!!
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