Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power

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Basic Books, Mar 17, 2008 - History - 384 pages
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The British Empire was the largest in all history: the nearest thing to world domination ever achieved. By the eve of World War II, around a quarter of the world's land surface was under some form of British rule. Yet for today's generation, the British Empire seems a Victorian irrelevance. The time is ripe for a reappraisal, and in Empire, Niall Ferguson boldly recasts the British Empire as one of the world's greatest modernizing forces.An important new work of synthesis and revision, Empire argues that the world we know today is in large measure the product of Britain's Age of Empire. The spread of capitalism, the communications revolution, the notion of humanitarianism, and the institutions of parliamentary democracy-all these can be traced back to the extraordinary expansion of Britain's economy, population, and culture from the seventeenth century until the mid-twentieth. On a vast and vividly colored canvas, Empire shows how the British Empire acted as midwife to modernity.Displaying the originality and rigor that have made him the brightest light among British historians, Ferguson shows that the story of the Empire is pregnant with lessons for today-in particular for the United States as it stands on the brink of a new era of imperial power, based once again on economic and military supremacy. A dazzling tour de force, Empire is a remarkable reappraisal of the prizes and pitfalls of global empire.
 

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Contents

Anatomy of an Empire
11
The American Revolution
18
Australia
29
Ireland
40
Canada
50
The Repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846
58
The Great Indian Uprising of 185758
67
The Jamaica Rebellion of 1865
82
The 1916 Easter Uprising in Ireland
242
The Amritsar Massacre of 1919
258
The 1924 British Empire Wembley Exhibition
273
The Balfour Definition of Dominion Status 1926
287
The Fall of Singapore February 1942
310
The Partition of India 1947
323
The Suez Crisis of 1956
359
Rhodesias Unilateral Declaration of Independence
372

The Opening of the Suez Canal in 1869
92
Io The Battle of Majuba Hill 1881
104
Cecil Rhodes Legacy
117
Queen Victorias Diamond Jubilee 1897
130
The Battle of Spion Kop 190o
154
The Suicide of Sir Hector MacDonald 1903
171
Joseph Chamberlain and the Cabinet Split of 1903
193
The Imperial Conference of 1911
214
The Declaration of Commonwealth Principles
387
The Falklands War 1982
402
CHRONo Lo GY 17651996
433
NOTES
469
The Trial of Jomo Kenyatta 1953 346
476
f N DEX
503
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About the author (2008)

Niall Ferguson is Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Jesus College, Oxford. He is the author of Paper and Iron, The House of Rothschilds, and The Pity of War ). He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement, and lives in Oxford.

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