Regular price: $38.49
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $38.49
This third volume in the Pax Britannica series picks up the story following Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee on June 22 1897 and takes it forward to the death of Winston Churchill in 1965. Of course, it didn't immediately seem that the British Empire was in any sort of decline. Following World War I, the empire was larger than it had ever been with the additions of Iraq and Palestine and Arabia.
However, the carnage of the Great War (as it was then known) had sapped all the confidence from the English people and their conviction that they had the right to rule other people. Not all of them, as the ones living in the colonial possessions in India and Southeast Asia and Africa - but the conviction that powers an imperialism had gone away.
As always Jan Morris moves this wonderful history along with many personal observations from those who had actually been in India and Singapore and Port Siad. The sights, smells, prejudices, and actions of empire are beautifully documented. After World War II (or as this history calls it "the last great imperial war') the British subdivided India and skedaddled in 73 short days in 1947 leaving carnage behind as India's peoples killed each other with ferocity. And from then on they gave away their empire just as quickly as they could. Even Churchill couldn't stop the tide, and by the time of his death empire and colonialism were considered anachronistic.
This wonderful and compelling story is superbly narrated by Roy McMillan. His work on this trilogy has made me look for other things he has narrated simply because of his terrific work.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Like the previous two parts, this is a masterwork which will appeal to anyone interested in history. It is by turns funny, tragic, personal, reflective, sad, and always entertaining. It could not have been written in the same ironic but respectful way by anyone of the previous generation, and perhaps not of the successive (my) generation.
The narrator is one of the best I have listened to, varying his pace, tone, accent and delivery with almost perfect judgment.
For a person new to audiobooks with curiosity about the Empire, I would recommend volume one (Heaven's Command) and this as terrific listens. Volume two is perhaps slower and, overall, less entertaining, but still well worth the price. The chapters in this book about the near east campaign in WWI, Indian independence, Ireland and the Empire between the wars, and the parts in volume one about the Indian mutiny, African exploration and the exploitation of Canada are some of the best audio listening you could get.
To listen to this is to disappear into a vanished and fascinating world.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
This review is for all three large volumes of Mr Morris's brilliant and exhaustive work tracing the rise and fall of the British Empire in exquisite detail. From the grand sweep of history to the obscure backwoods incidents and the always fascinating explanations of all sorts of things and "facts" that we take for granted today which it turns out did not happen in the way traditional history would have us believe.
Another amazing part of the book is as it was written in the 1960s there isno PC rubbish or mincing of words to avoid notional offense given to any race or religion, all are treated equally and their stories told in all the gory details good or bad - this is certainly not a glorious whitewash of the Empire's history it is honest and frank in every way possibe.
The most unusual thing for me are the Irish sections which in mostly tends to be glossed over in the UK and still is today, this however was a relevation to me on the course and history of the "Irish Troubles".
The whole thing is a must for anybody interested in World History, I doubt I could have sat and read the books but on Audio they are brilliant.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful