Catalogue


Empire : the rise and demise of the British world order and the lessons for global power /
Niall Ferguson.
edition
First U.S. paperback edition.
imprint
New York : Basic Books, 2004, c2002.
description
xxvi, 351 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0465023290
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Basic Books, 2004, c2002.
isbn
0465023290
contents note
Why Britain -- White plague -- Mission -- Heaven's breed -- Maxim force -- Empire for sale.
catalogue key
5891268
 
Includes bibliographical references (pages [323]-335) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Niall Ferguson is Herzog Professor of Financial History at the Stern School of Business, New York University, and Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Arthur Ross Book Awards, USA, 2004 : Nominated
Galaxy British Book Awards, GBR, 2004 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2003-02-24:
Acclaimed British historian Ferguson (The Pity of War) takes the revisionist (or perhaps re-revisionist) position that the British Empire was, on balance, a good thing, that it "impos[ed] free markets, the rule of law... and relatively incorrupt government" on a quarter of the globe. Ferguson's imperial boosterism differs from more critical recent scholarship on the empire, such as Linda Colley's Captives (Forecasts, Dec. 2, 2002) and Simon Schama's A History of Britain: The Fate of Empire (Forecasts, Dec. 23, 2002). Ferguson's gracefully written narrative traces the history of the empire from its beginnings in the 16th century. As Ferguson tells it, by the 18th century British consumers had developed a strong taste for sugar, tobacco, coffee, tea and other imports. The empire's role was to supply these commodities and to offer cheap land to British settlers. Not until the late 18th century did Britain add a "civilizing mission" to its commercial motives. Liberals in Britain, often fired by religious feelings, abolished the slave trade and then set out to Christianize indigenous peoples. Ferguson gives a wonderful account of the fabled career of missionary and explorer David Livingstone. The author admits that the British sometimes responded to native opposition with brutality and racism. Yet he argues that other empires, especially those of Germany and Japan, were far more brutal (a not entirely satisfying defense). Indeed, Ferguson contends that Britain nobly sacrificed its empire in order to defeat these imperial rivals in WWII. His provocative and elegantly written account will surely trigger debate, if not downright vilification, among history readers and postcolonial scholars. 25 color illus., b&w illus., maps. (Apr.) Forecast: The young and attractive Ferguson is something of a celebrity in Great Britain, where he's been called "the Errol Flynn of British history"; so expect additional media attention. He currently teaches at New York University. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-04-15:
First published in England last year (with the shorter subtitle How Britain Made the Modern World), this is intended as a cautionary tale for the United States. In this sweeping narrative, British historian Ferguson (economic history, NYU; The Pity of War) eloquently addresses the origin, scope, and nature of the British Empire. He confronts the negative aspects of the empire-suppression of native populations, involvement in the slave trade-but also examines the idealistic mission of the British and offers valuable insight into the expansion of the empire in India and Africa. Ferguson effectively weaves economic analysis into his history, presents fresh observations on the American War of Independence, and charts the empire's decline. He gives the British high marks for spreading the concept of "liberal capitalism" and democracy throughout the world while acknowledging its failure "to live up to its own ideal of individual liberty." Dozens of illustrations, maps, and tables, as well as a solid bibliography, supplement the text. This is the sort of popular history that will also appeal to specialists and is highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
New York Times Book Review, April 2003
Guardian UK, June 2004
New York Times Book Review, September 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
A narrative history profiles the British Empire as a 'cradle of modernity,' tracing the expansion of Britain's economy, population, and culture during the last four centuries and continuing with discussions of such topics as economic globalization, the communications revolution and the racial component.
Main Description
The British Empire was the largest in all history: the nearest thing to world domination ever achieved. By the eve of World War II, around a quarter of the world's land surface was under some form of British rule. Yet for today's generation, the British Empire seems a Victorian irrelevance. The time is ripe for a reappraisal, and in 'Empire', Niall Ferguson boldly recasts the British Empire as one of the world's greatest modernizing forces.An important new work of synthesis and revision, 'Empire' argues that the world we know today is in large measure the product of Britain's Age of Empire. The spread of capitalism, the communications revolution, the notion of humanitarianism, and the institutions of parliamentary democracy-all these can be traced back to the extraordinary expansion of Britain's economy, population, and culture from the seventeenth century until the mid-twentieth. On a vast and vividly colored canvas, 'Empire' shows how the British Empire acted as midwife to modernity.Displaying the originality and rigor that have made him the brightest light among British historians, Ferguson shows that the story of the Empire is pregnant with lessons for today-in particular for the United States as it stands on the brink of a new era of imperial power, based once again on economic and military supremacy. A dazzling tour de force, 'Empire' is a remarkable reappraisal of the prizes and pitfalls of global empire.
Main Description
The British Empire was the largest in all history: the nearest thing to world domination ever achieved. By the eve of World War II, around a quarter of the world's land surface was under some form of British rule. Yet for today's generation, the British Empire seems a Victorian irrelevance. The time is ripe for a reappraisal, and in Empire , Niall Ferguson boldly recasts the British Empire as one of the world's greatest modernizing forces.An important new work of synthesis and revision, Empire argues that the world we know today is in large measure the product of Britain's Age of Empire. The spread of capitalism, the communications revolution, the notion of humanitarianism, and the institutions of parliamentary democracy-all these can be traced back to the extraordinary expansion of Britain's economy, population, and culture from the seventeenth century until the mid-twentieth. On a vast and vividly colored canvas, Empire shows how the British Empire acted as midwife to modernity.Displaying the originality and rigor that have made him the brightest light among British historians, Ferguson shows that the story of the Empire is pregnant with lessons for today-in particular for the United States as it stands on the brink of a new era of imperial power, based once again on economic and military supremacy. A dazzling tour de force, Empire is a remarkable reappraisal of the prizes and pitfalls of global empire.
Main Description
The British Empire was the largest in all history: the nearest thing to world domination ever achieved. By the eve of World War II, around a quarter of the world's land surface was under some form of British rule. Yet for today's generation, the British Empire seems a Victorian irrelevance. The time is ripe for a reappraisal, and inEmpire, Niall Ferguson boldly recasts the British Empire as one of the world's greatest modernizing forces.An important new work of synthesis and revision,Empireargues that the world we know today is in large measure the product of Britain's Age of Empire. The spread of capitalism, the communications revolution, the notion of humanitarianism, and the institutions of parliamentary democracy-all these can be traced back to the extraordinary expansion of Britain's economy, population, and culture from the seventeenth century until the mid-twentieth. On a vast and vividly colored canvas,Empireshows how the British Empire acted as midwife to modernity.Displaying the originality and rigor that have made him the brightest light among British historians, Ferguson shows that the story of the Empire is pregnant with lessons for today-in particular for the United States as it stands on the brink of a new era of imperial power, based once again on economic and military supremacy. A dazzling tour de force,Empireis a remarkable reappraisal of the prizes and pitfalls of global empire.
Main Description
This grand narrative history of the world's first experiment in globalization offers lessons for an ever-expanding American Empire--from England's most talented young historian.
Table of Contents
List of Maps and Figuresp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Why Britain?p. 3
White Plaguep. 59
The Missionp. 115
Heaven's Breedp. 163
Maxim Forcep. 221
Empire For Salep. 291
Conclusionp. 357
Acknowledgementsp. 371
Illustration Acknowledgementsp. 373
Bibliographyp. 377
Indexp. 384
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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