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Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain

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Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Nostalgic Brits esteem the Empire as a redemptive 'civilizing mission,' others as an exercise in greed on a global scale. Oxford historian Darwin (After Tamerlane) argues convincingly that it was an ad hoc, largely private enterprise pursued by traders, migrants, soldiers, missionaries, and entrepreneurs with sporadic official support from the Crown. The book begins with Elizabethan England, at the time an outsider on the world stage: Spain enjoyed a 'silver-rich empire' in the Americas; Holland controlled Asian spice islands; and Portugal had an outpost on the west coast of India. But by 1700, an 'English Atlantic' was prospering with settlements strewn from Jamaica to Newfoundland, and though colonists played a minor role in Asia, traders there used military aid to assume control of the Indian subcontinent. By century's end, America had broken free, but the defeat of France at Waterloo in 1815 ushered in a golden age of trade and enlargement for the U.K. Though U.S. and German economies surged around the dawn of the 20th century, British expansion continued until WWII, when the unwieldy and far-flung agglomeration of territories began to finally break free from the shackles of colonialism. Temporally and geographically sprawling, Darwin's study is as expansive as his subject, yet his lucidly rendered project holds together remarkably well. Maps, illus. Agent: Adam Eaglin, the Wylie Agency. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

John Darwins After Tamerlane, a sweeping six-hundred-year history of empires around the globe, marked him as a historian of “massive erudition” (the Guardian) and narrative mastery. In Unfinished Empire, he marshals his gifts to deliver a monumental one-volume history of Britains imperium—a work that is sure to stand as the most authoritative and compelling treatment of the subject for a generation. It was hailed as one of the 10 best books of 2013 by Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post.

Darwins 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.

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—military and cultural—in which empires really function.

About the Author

John Darwin has written extensively on the decline of Britains 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.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781620400371
Author:
Darwin, John
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Subject:
General History
Subject:
World History-General
Subject:
Europe - Great Britain
Subject:
World History-England General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BandW illustrations throughout
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » General History
History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » Politics and Empire
History and Social Science » World History » British Empire
History and Social Science » World History » England » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$35.00 In Stock
Product details 496 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781620400371 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Nostalgic Brits esteem the Empire as a redemptive 'civilizing mission,' others as an exercise in greed on a global scale. Oxford historian Darwin (After Tamerlane) argues convincingly that it was an ad hoc, largely private enterprise pursued by traders, migrants, soldiers, missionaries, and entrepreneurs with sporadic official support from the Crown. The book begins with Elizabethan England, at the time an outsider on the world stage: Spain enjoyed a 'silver-rich empire' in the Americas; Holland controlled Asian spice islands; and Portugal had an outpost on the west coast of India. But by 1700, an 'English Atlantic' was prospering with settlements strewn from Jamaica to Newfoundland, and though colonists played a minor role in Asia, traders there used military aid to assume control of the Indian subcontinent. By century's end, America had broken free, but the defeat of France at Waterloo in 1815 ushered in a golden age of trade and enlargement for the U.K. Though U.S. and German economies surged around the dawn of the 20th century, British expansion continued until WWII, when the unwieldy and far-flung agglomeration of territories began to finally break free from the shackles of colonialism. Temporally and geographically sprawling, Darwin's study is as expansive as his subject, yet his lucidly rendered project holds together remarkably well. Maps, illus. Agent: Adam Eaglin, the Wylie Agency. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,

John Darwins After Tamerlane, a sweeping six-hundred-year history of empires around the globe, marked him as a historian of “massive erudition” (the Guardian) and narrative mastery. In Unfinished Empire, he marshals his gifts to deliver a monumental one-volume history of Britains imperium—a work that is sure to stand as the most authoritative and compelling treatment of the subject for a generation. It was hailed as one of the 10 best books of 2013 by Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post.

Darwins 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.

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—military and cultural—in which empires really function.

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