Summer Reading Sale

Recently Viewed clear list

The Powell's Playlist | June 18, 2014

Daniel H. Wilson: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Daniel H. Wilson

Like many writers, I'm constantly haunting coffee shops with a laptop out and my headphones on. I listen to a lot of music while I write, and songs... Continue »

Qualifying orders ship free.
List price: $19.95
Sale Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Beaverton World History- Western Civilization
2 Hawthorne Western Civilization- General

More copies of this ISBN

This title in other editions

The Rule of Empires: Those Who Built Them, Those Who Endured Them, and Why They Always Fall


The Rule of Empires: Those Who Built Them, Those Who Endured Them, and Why They Always Fall Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In The Rule of Empires, Timothy Parsons gives a sweeping account of the evolution of empire from ancient Rome to its most recent twentieth-century embodiment. He explains what constitutes an empire, what empires of the past can tell us about our own historical moment, and perhaps most important, why empires always fail.

Writing from the perspective of the common subject rather than that of the imperial conquerors, Parsons offers a historically grounded cautionary tale rich with accounts of subjugated peoples throwing off the yoke of empire time and time again. The book takes us inside ancient Rome's conquest of Britain, Muslim rule in Spain, Spain's empire in Peru, Britain's "new" imperialism in India and Kenya, and the Third Reich's occupation of France, among other examples. Parsons illuminates the features common to all these empires, their evolutions and self-justifying myths, and the reasons for their inevitable decline. He argues that far from confirming some sort of Darwinian hierarchy of advanced and primitive societies, these conquests were invariably the product of a temporary advantage in military technology, wealth, and political will. And beneath the self-justifying rhetoric of benevolent paternalism and cultural superiority lay a naked desire for power--in short, to loot the wealth and exploit the labor of conquered peoples. Imperial ambitions are still viable in the twenty-first century, Parsons shows, because their defenders and detractors alike employ abstract and romanticized perspectives that fail to grasp the historical reality of subjugation.

In providing an accurate picture of what it is like to live as a subject, The Rule of Empires lays bare the rationalizations of imperial conquerors and their apologists and exposes the true limits of imperial power.

About the Author

Timothy Parsons is a Professor of African History at Washington University. He is the author many books, including The British Imperial Century, 1815-1914: A World History Perspective and The 1964 Army Mutinies and the Making of Modern East Africa.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Subjects of Empire

1. Roman Britain: The Myth of the Civilizing Empire

2. Muslim Spain: Blurring Subjecthood in Imperial Al-Andalus

3. Spanish Peru: Empire by Franchise

4. Company India: Private Empire Building

5. Napoleonic Italy: Empire Aborted

6. British Kenya: The Short Life of the New Imperialism

7. France Under the Nazis: Imperial Endpoint

Conclusion: Imperial Epitaph

Product Details

Parsons, Timothy H
Oxford University Press, USA
Parsons, Timothy H.
General History
History - World
World History-General
Publication Date:
7 maps
6.1 x 9.1 x 1 in 1.35 lb

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Medieval
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient Near East
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Medieval and Renaissance
History and Social Science » World History » Western Civilization
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

The Rule of Empires: Those Who Built Them, Those Who Endured Them, and Why They Always Fall Sale Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.98 In Stock
Product details 496 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780199931156 Reviews:
  • back to top
Follow us on...

Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at