Great Britain's geopolitical role in the global scheme of things has undergone many radical changes over the last four centuries. Once a maritime superpower and ruler of half the world, Britain's current position as an isolated, economically fragile island squabbling with its European neighbours often seems difficult to accept, it not comprehend. ...
Great Britain's geopolitical role in the global scheme of things has undergone many radical changes over the last four centuries. Once a maritime superpower and ruler of half the world, Britain's current position as an isolated, economically fragile island squabbling with its European neighbours often seems difficult to accept, it not comprehend. Although still afforded nominal status through membership of groups such as G7 and the retention of a permanent seat on the UN Security Coucil, the simple truth is that Britian has been resting on her laurels since 1945, if not before. This book covers the history of the British expansion overseas from the 16th century to the 20th century. Narrative and analysis are interwoven with revealing eyewitness quotation to provide keen insight into the minds of those involved in conquering, settling and ruling the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Throughout, there are consistent themes: the search for profit and the moral misgivings it generated; domestic developments which made imperial expansion desirable; and the sense of national and personal identity felt by the empire-builders.
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Publishers Weekly, 1995-11-27 James, a British historian whose previous books have dealt chiefly with military matters, writes engagingly about the British Empire from the time of Sir Walter Raleigh at the beginning of the 17th century to Nelson Mandela at the end of the 20th. The struggle that drove France out of Canada, he says, was ``Britain's first large-scale imperial war of conquest,'' and it set the pattern for future colonial wars from the American Revolution through the Napoleonic, Crimean, Boer, Afghan and Opium wars to WWI and the beginning of the end of the empire in India, Ireland, the Middle East and Africa. WWII finished the job. Except for the travels of Captain James Cook, tales of exploration play almost no part in this account. It is, instead, a history of how a fairly simple international mercantile enterpriseæin which white dominions were definitely regarded differently from black onesæchanged itself and the face of the world. James peppers his account with illuminating and entertaining excerpts from period songs and popular literature. His conclusion: few empires have given their subjects so much of the intellectual wherewithal to overthrow their rulers. A sprawling and complex subject handled with admirable style and selectivity. Illustrations. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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