The Rise and Fall of the British Empire

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Macmillan, Sep 15, 1997 - History - 704 pages
22 Reviews
Great Britain's geopolitical role in the global scheme of things has undergone many radical changes over the last four centuries. Once a maritime superpower and ruler of half the world, Britain's current position as an isolated, economically fragile island squabbling with her European neighbors often seems difficult to accept, if not comprehend. Although still afforded nominal status through membership of groups such as G7 and the retention of a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, the simple truth is that Britain has been resting on her laurels since 1945, if not before. The British Empire is both cause and effect of this spectacular transformation. At first an exercise in straightforward profit-making, foreign exploration and colonization by British settlers, traders, and entrepreneurs soon gave rise to serious moral misgivings about the exploitation of native peoples and resources. But the riches to be gained from empire-building were always a powerful argument in its favor, although changes in the domestic social and political climate made benevolent imperialism a more desired objective. The lure of profit was tempered by an urge to uplift and civilize. Those responsible for the glories of empire were also driven by questionable motives. Personal fame and fortune formed an inevitable and attractive by-product of the conquest of new territories, and many empire-builders felt an unimpeachable sense of destiny. The achievements, however, cannot be denied, and during its heyday the British Empire was the envy of the world. Revisionist historians make much of the stunted potential of the former colonies, but as always, the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes.
  

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Good Book. Very comprehensive and well researched. - Goodreads
A good overview of the British Empire. - Goodreads
The research is both thorough and detailed. - Goodreads
The tome itself is a tour-de-force of research. - Goodreads

Review: The Rise and Fall of the British Empire

User Review  - BF Moloney - Goodreads

A good overview of the British Empire. A reader with an interest in British colonial history can confidently step off this book and go elsewhere for greater depth. Read full review

Review: The Rise and Fall of the British Empire

User Review  - Sandeep - Goodreads

Do not agree with the 'rise' part of the story, but remarkably honest regarding the 'fall'. Insights abound, such as the Telegram from Churchill enquiring if among the multitude dead in Bengal famine ... Read full review

Contents

V
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VI
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VIII
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IX
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About the author (1997)

Lawrence James studied history and English at York University and subsequently took a research degree at Merton College, Oxford. Following a career as a teacher, he became a full-time writer in 1985. He is the author of seven critically acclaimed works of nonfiction. He lives in St. Andrews, Scotland with his wife who is the headmistress of St. Leonard's School, and his two sons.

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