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Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain

Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain

Paperback

By (author) John Darwin

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 496 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 26mm | 360g
  • Publication date: 1 August 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846140897
  • ISBN 13: 9781846140891
  • Illustrations note: 16 bw interleaved
  • Sales rank: 66,399

Product description

This is a both controversial and comprehensive historical analysis of how the British Empire worked, from Wolfson Prize-winning author and historian John Darwin. The British Empire shaped the world in countless ways: repopulating continents, carving out nations, imposing its own language, technology and values. For perhaps two centuries its expansion and final collapse were the single largest determinant of historical events, and it remains surrounded by myth, misconception and controversy today. John Darwin's provocative and richly enjoyable book shows how diverse, contradictory and in many ways chaotic the British Empire really was, controlled by interests that were often at loggerheads, and as much driven on by others' weaknesses as by its own strength.

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Author information

John Darwin's interest lies in the history of empires, both their rise and fall.He 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. Most recently he is the author of After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400-2000, which won the Wolfson History Prize, and The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World-System, 1830-1970.

Review quote

A breadth of perspective few other imperial historians can boast. The British Empire really does look different in the light of it ... Breadth of vision, fizzing ideas and a brilliant style as well as superb scholarship ... It deserves to supplant every other book on this topic, including - though my publisher and bank manager won't thank me for saying this - my own. It is British imperial history at last without hang-ups; the one we've been waiting for -- Bernard Potter History Today A brilliantly perceptive analysis of the forces and ideas that drove the creation of an extraordinary enterprise ... Bringing together his huge erudition, scrupulous fairness and elegant prose, Mr Darwin has produced a wonderfully stimulating account of something that today seems almost incredibly yet was, in historical terms, only yesterday. It is also a much-needed antidote both to the leftish consensus of the past 50 years that Britain's empire was unrelievedly awful ... and the recent triumphalist revisionism of more conservative historians Economist Engrossing ... What Darwin adds to this insight is a rare, wonderful capacity for comparison. Empire here is a jigsaw of dreams and anxieties, conquests and loss of faith ... Seeing the imperial experience in the round like this does gives us a clearer, more subtle appreciation of the range of power and violence at play. It raises the historical writing on empire to another level BBC History Magazine How incredibly refreshing it is when as distinguished an historian as John Darwin ... writes something as thoughtful, well-researched and persuasive as Unfinished Empire, which explains the half-millennium-long expansion of Britain across the globe in terms that genuinely make sense ... The author's deep familiarity with all the key sources of this vast subject allows him to pluck examples for his arguments from across the centuries and continents ... Best of all ... is the thought that Darwin's book might at long last herald the victory of the post-Marxist phase of imperial historiography, and not a moment too soon -- Andrew Roberts Sunday Telegraph Book of the Week Balanced, original and impressive ... Subtle ... intelligent Literary Review Comprehensive ... Darwin's erudition allows him to skirt around the narrow orthodoxies of apologist v critic and provide an insightful account of Britain's unlikely period of global hegemony Sunday Times