Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2012 - History - 478 pages
18 Reviews
John Darwin's After Tamerlane, a sweeping six-hundred-year history of empires around the globe, marked him as a historian of "massive erudition" and narrative mastery. In Unfinished Empire, he marshals his gifts to deliver a monumental one-volume history of Britain's imperium-a work that is sure to stand as the most authoritative, most compelling treatment of the subject for a generation.

Darwin unfurls the British Empire's beginnings and decline and its extraordinary range of forms of rule, from settler colonies to island enclaves, from the princely states of India to ramshackle trading posts. His penetrating analysis offers a corrective to those who portray the empire as either naked exploitation or a grand "civilizing mission." Far from ever having a "master plan," the British Empire was controlled by a range of interests often at loggerheads with one another and was as much driven on by others' weaknesses as by its own strength. It shows, too, that the empire was never stable: to govern was a violent process, inevitably creating wars and rebellions.

Unfinished Empire is a remarkable, nuanced history of the most complex polity the world has ever known, and a serious attempt to describe the diverse, contradictory ways-from the military to the cultural-in which empires really function. This is essential reading for any lover of sweeping history, or anyone wishing to understand how the modern world came into being.
  

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Review: Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain

User Review  - Blake Helms - Goodreads

What can I say, if you want a soup to nuts overview of the history of the British empire this book is for you. While at times the author could be excruciatingly verbose overall I found the book to be very interesting. Read full review

Review: Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain

User Review  - Martin - Goodreads

An excellent overview of the age of Empire and how Britain conducted itself in its major acquisitions. The book appears to me as well-balanced in its analyses. It does not subscribe to the view that ... Read full review

All 3 reviews »

Contents

Imagining Empire
1
Making Contact
33
Taking Possession
61
Settling
89
Resorting to
117
Traffic and Trade
151
Ruling Methods
189
Acts of Rebellion
223
Converts and Cultures
265
Notes
403
Further Reading
445
Index
457
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

John Darwin has written extensively on the decline of Britain's empire and teaches imperial and global history at Oxford, where he is a Fellow of Nuffield College. His books include After Tamerlane, Britain and Decolonization, and The Empire Project.

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