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Books > History > Europe > Great Britain > 031216985X
  1. The Rise and Fall of the British Empire
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  2. The Rise and Fall of the British Empire

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (47 reviews)
    Price R535.00

Additional Information

Great Britain's geopolitical role has undergone many changes over the last four centuries. Once a maritime superpower and ruler of half the world, Britain now occupies an isolated position as an economically fragile island often at odds with her European neighbors.

In The Rise and Fall of the British Empire, Lawrence James has written a comprehensive, perceptive, and insightful history of the British Empire. Spanning the years from 1600 to the present day, this critically acclaimed book combines detailed scholarship with readable popular history.

“This is a stylish, intelligent and readable book.” ―The New York Times Book Review

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Lawrence James
St. Martin's Griffin
St. Martin's Griffin
St. Martin's Griffin
St. Martin's Griffin
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

A book with so ambitious a title as "The Rise and Fall of the British Empire" holds much promise for the reader. Visions of 1000+ page tomes come to mind. After all, there is a lot of time and history involved with so monumental a subject. But James' account of what was arguably the greatest cultural, economic, and social force the world has ever known--the British empire--delivers solidly on that promise with clarity and brevity.

I won't mince words. The book is short for so massive a subject. But James executes it well. Some passages and accounts are agonizingly brief, of course, but the purpose of the book is not to delve deeply into the minutiae of the Empire's history. It provides a fairly elementary overview of the important events that unfolded to shape the Empire, painting an elegant background picture of the sheer scope and impact of imperialism.

Yes, pivotal situations, political turmoil, and wars are often glossed over, replaced by "big... Read more
Lawrence James takes a straight factual narrative of the empire, neither going the neo-imperialist apologist route nor the leftist postmodernist road, equally emphasizing its achievements and darker moments. He does have an interesting style in introducing some of the chapters, and that is by describing the paintings that symbolized Britain at a certain point. He also uses poems, popular songs, and novels of the time to describe the sentiments at the time. At 629 pages, covering from 1600 up to 1993, it's quite a hefty read and may require a few sittings, but for a one volume work of the largest empire to last for a long time, it's effective.
James's focus is primarily economic and political, with the sociological aspects on the British left and anti-colonialists given quite coverage beginning in the 19th century. But the story's the same. England's empire was created for her need of goods from the New World, but really took off during its series of global wars against... Read more
James' history of the British Empire occupies a precarious position. It is too short to provide the sort of depth required by a scholarly history and his attempt to record the 400 year rise and fall of the Empire leaves little room for the sorts of anecdotes and character development one finds in the best popular histories. He does manage to give the reader a rough sketch of the history of the Empire. It covers the basics: where the British possessions were along with how and when they were acquired(and lost). But because of the massive scale of the Empire there is little room for much else. Large parts of this book read like a list, but when James quits listing events and analyzes them he is both enjoyable and informative. He also does an excellent job integrating popular culture into his text. He includes quotations from plays, poems, and advertisements. James' writing is clear, lucid and enjoyable to read. However I gave it three stars because the book lacks focus. It is nice to... Read more
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