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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 31-08-11
An enjoyable voyage through the history of empire building, jumping from country to country with enough detail to get a good understanding without getting bogged down in it. The book probably does pick and choose the most sensational parts of the imperial progress, but often this whets the appetite to read more on a particular subject that by necessity the author could only recount at a fairly high level. The book is not only about the battles of empire, but includes fascinating sections, for example, on the great explorers
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
By JONAH8208 on 21-11-12
Very Long and Fascinating
This review is for all three large volumes of Mr Morris's brilliant and exhaustive work tracing the rise and fall of the British Empire in exquisite detail. From the grand sweep of history to the obscure backwoods incidents and the always fascinating explanations of all sorts of things and "facts" that we take for granted today which it turns out did not happen in the way traditional history would have us believe.
Another amazing part of the book is as it was written in the 1960s there isno PC rubbish or mincing of words to avoid notional offense given to any race or religion, all are treated equally and their stories told in all the gory details good or bad - this is certainly not a glorious whitewash of the Empire's history it is honest and frank in every way possibe.
The most unusual thing for me are the Irish sections which in mostly tends to be glossed over in the UK and still is today, this however was a relevation to me on the course and history of the "Irish Troubles".
The whole thing is a must for anybody interested in World History, I doubt I could have sat and read the books but on Audio they are brilliant.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Wolfpacker on 06-06-12
Great Vignettes, Good Overall Story
When I reached the end of this volume, I thought, "Is that it? I don't feel like I saw the empire actually arrive." It almost crept up on me. Sure, there were battles and conquests, but there didn't seem to be any grand advances of empire. Perhaps this was the point: the growth was organic, steady, and inexorable. Also, the fact that the book's end arrived before I could believe must mean that it was engaging. The short biographies of the individual empire builders were fantastic. (The footnotes were my favorite part.)
I also liked the emphasis on three themes throughout: 1) the effect of the abolished slave trade and slaveholdings, 2) the evangelical and humanitarian motives of empire, and 3) the reluctance through most of Victoria's reign by most Englishmen to even pursue empire.
You will enjoy this book if you want to learn about the growth of the British Empire under Victoria.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Cookie on 14-05-12
Review for all three in the series
If you like history, complete with poetry and context, you will love this series! Jan Morris visited most of the locations he writes about and since that was in the '50's and '60's, we have a very interesting half way view to "what has happened" since. Halfway through, I started following the action on Google Earth, what a perspective! Some of these islands are so remote, I can't believe anyone knew about them, yet here they are with capitals like Victoria and Salisbury. I feel like I have been on a trip around the world in 50 hours. If Mr. Morris had written our history books, I may have paid more attention in HS. The author shows the Empire from all sides that represent themselves in the English attitudes of the day. Last but not least, Roy Mcmillan reads like a movie, voices of Kipling, Shaw, and Gandhi just to name a very few are as true as the cockney of the sailor and accent of the bartender down under. Truly this is one of the very best "stories/histories/audiobooks" I have ever listened to (I am getting close the my first 100). I hope you get it and enjoy it as much as I did. PS, the author does the forward, his voice is much less compelling than the reader, so do not be put off by the introduction as his voice is stilted and slightly muffled compared to Mr. McMillan's. Please enjoy.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful