Yet, as this book explains, the empire was not formed by coherent policy, and its decline reflected this: its later years were characterised by a series of accidental oversights, decisions taken without due consideration for the consequences, and uncertain pragmatism. Many of the world's trouble spots are those left behind by the chaotic retreat of empire, and its ghosts continue to haunt today's international scene.
This powerful book addresses the realities of the British Empire from its inception to its demise, questioning the nature of its glory and cataloguing both the inadequacies of its ideals and the short-termism of its actions.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Marcus on 12-04-12
Good addition to the history of empire
The structure of the book works well. Rather than give an over view of the empire it concentrates on telling the the story of British involvement in six different countries; Iraq, Kashmir Sudan, Burma, Nigeria, and Hong Kong. This allows a better understanding of the impact of imperial rule. The author looks to show how decisions made by imperial officials caused instability in these states, post empire. I enjoyed these potted histories which are told well and centre around key imperial characters. The author wants to show how the empire was not centrally coordinated and individuals on the ground could make momentus decisions, with far-reaching impacts. The problem is the author largely tells the story from the British perspective. He does not show how these decisions were reached in the context of the local situation, and that the local population were also important actors in the drama. A minor gripe is the author's obsession with which school and Oxbridge college the main protagonists went too. While it is important to show the narrow social structure that imperialism was based on, this could have been dealt with in a few pages, not dragged up continually throughout the book.
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By Goldie Horne on 23-01-18
I enjoyed listening to this rewarding book - how the British ruled under Imperialism and colonialism. This book took me by surprise on aspects that occurred during the British ruled government the British Empire regions. The narrative was given indepth information and factual events that occurred during the time of British imperialism - a class structured control. The narrative was slightly fast therefore would need to re-run some of the chapters to get a good understanding of the occurences that took place.