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This is an author who can move a story along, no doubt, while imparting a good basic sense of the history referred to. This is not modern super-disciplined and balanced academic history. The author will not hesitate to call an individual a "weakling," "idiot," "corrupt," or he like, and sometimes these barbed critiques extend to a whole nationality. So it is stereotype-heavy, in a way that falls strangely on modern ears (civilized ears anyway). I believe it was written in the 1920s or thereabouts, and may well reflect the grandiosity (albeit faded) and nationalistic team spirit of Victorian Britons. There are, however, criticisms at turns of various Britons as well. It stands as a favorite narrative of the times from a British perspective for me, in the sense that it really picks up and moves and conveys a story. I prefer it to Churchill's telling of the same stories. From there, the curious may seek more disciplined recountings of the events from various perspectives. The narrator too is quite punchy and verges on grandiose, but I like his stridency, and it fits this story like a glove. It does not go deep into details of commerce, but has plenty of politics, personalities, and of course, wars.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is a fun read but largely outdated. Several of the authors points have been disproved by more recent scholarship. He is also an apologist for the British in terms of their history in Ireland and India. All that being said it's a good book for beginners who should then read a more up to date work on the same period and look for comparisons.