The Oxford History of the British Empire is a major new assessment of the Empire in the light of recent scholarship and the progressive opening of historical records. From the founding of colonies in North America and the West Indies in the seventeenth century to the reversion of Hong Kong to China at the end of the twentieth, British imperialism was a catalyst for far-reaching change. The Oxford History of the British Empire as a comprehensive study helps us to understand the end of Empire in relation to its beginning, the meaning of British imperialism for the ruled as well as for the rulers, and the significance of the British Empire as a theme in world history. This twentieth-century volume considers many aspects of the 'imperial experience' in the final years of the British Empire, culminating in the mid-century's rapid processes of decolonization. It seeks to understand the men who managed the empire, their priorities and vision, and the mechanisms of control and connection which held the empire together.
There are chapters on imperial centres, on the geographical 'periphery' of empire, and on all its connecting mechanisms, including institutions and the flow of people, money, goods, and services. The volume also explores the experience of 'imperial subjects' in terms of culture, politics, and economics; an experience which culminated in the growth of vibrant, often new, national identities and movements and, ultimately, new nation-states. It concludes with the processes of decolonization which reshaped the political map of the late twentieth-century world.
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(241mm x 162mm x 46mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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UK Kirkus Review »
Like its predecessors, this volume in an excellent series breaks with the practice of writing British Imperial history from an exclusively Anglocentric newpoint. It also benefits from being written at a time then the dust has settled on the passions stirred up by post-war decolonization. The books can now be viewed more objectively. In these volumes, to which more than 50 scholars from Britain, the Commonwealth and the USA have contributed, every chapter is thematic or regional. Much attention is given to the economics of empire, to patterns of trade, migration and defence, and to how the Empire was seen by the governed - rather than the governors. The 'long' 19th century from the 1780s to 1914 saw British Imperial power at its zenith yet it is clear from these books that British governments worried constantly about the cost of empire, many were concerned about its 'ramshackledom' and the generals feared that co-ordinated risings in India, South Africa and Ireland would bring it to its knees. In the event it was the two world wars which were to decide the fate of the empire by the way they loosened colonial loyalties to Britain and exhausted Britain's economic and military capacity to resist colonial rebellions when they finally came in the 1940s and '50s, though the speed of decolonization also had much to do with the state of British public opinion and Britain's relations with the USA and the Soviet Union. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Judith Brown
Roger Louis is also the editor-in-chief of the whole series