Empire. How Britain made the modern world. kaz-news.infoon. August 21 - August 28, В. The subtitle indicates that this is, if not exactly a celebration, at least a. Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World Printer-friendly version · PDF version. Book: Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World Niall Ferguson London. [PDF] DOWNLOAD Empire: How Britain Made The Modern World by Ferguson Niall [PDF] DOWNLOAD Empire: How Britain Made The Modern.
|Language:||English, Portuguese, French|
|Genre:||Science & Research|
|ePub File Size:||30.68 MB|
|PDF File Size:||12.83 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Registration Required]|
eBook features: Highlight, take notes, and search in the book; In this edition, page numbers are just like the physical edition; Length: pages; Word Wise. EMPIRE: HOW BRITAIN MADE THE MODERN WORLD BY. NIALL FERGUSON PDF. Reviewing the e-book Empire: How Britain Made The Modern World By. The British Empire was the largest in all history, its reach the nearest thing to world domination ever achieved. By the eve of the Second World.
Cuttings, for example from the same colourful Indian scene, provide the backdrop or continuity on more than one occasion. Nevertheless, precisely the same points are made on the page, decked out with the same catchy or demotic phraseology. Arresting, yes, but not always apposite for reasons which, in this case, Joseph Banks might have explained , and so at risk of disguising reality with cosmetic flippancy.
It is strange that someone such as Ferguson, well-acquainted with thinking about virtual history, other possible outcomes to any chance sequence of events, and alternative futures, should comprehensively ignore this analytical dimension in the case of empire. Occasional references are made, for instance, to the possibility of a French not a British victory in mid-eighteenth-century India. At the same time, however, Ferguson seems to believe that for most areas of the world the experience of imperial rule offered the only way to the future.
This begs many questions. The work of regional historians gives grounds for disputing such an assumption, and thus for questioning perceptions of backwardness and modernity conditioned in the west, but Ferguson does not pay it any attention. How is it to be understood, either in chronological terms, or functionally? Sometimes these appear to be separated out and discontinuous, but he also knits them together in a single period and process. Or is it to be understood as an active process of territorial integration into a world-wide market economy?
There is a fuzziness here in the handling of globalization, whether as concept, descriptive category, or economic process, that needs to be cleared away.
There is much in the history of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to support the view that a process of globalization was also then underway. It is more important, however, to recognise that the prominence of war and economic protection or monopolization meant that the characteristics of that earlier age were very different from, and the process of globalization was largely driven by forces unlike, those that Ferguson suggests operated during the British-dominated phase of globalization after From then onwards Ferguson seems to allow that the global accumulation of wealth was promoted only by an increasing absence of restraint on the movement of people labour migration , the flow of capital external investment , and produce from land overseas commerce.
This argument is unpersuasive because it ignores the role of war, economic protection, and strategic calculation, persisting from that earlier period, in the continuing growth of a global economy.
This last observation directs us not only to the compatibility of continuing globalization with partially-closed economies, but also to the limitations of free trade arrangements historically associated with the pursuit of an open global economy. Contrary to much current thinking, Ferguson wishes us to accept that the priority attached by Britain to free trade, free labour migration, and unfettered capital movements, was beneficial to Britain itself, to its empire, and to the world at large.
It can surely be argued that this simple standard requires a more critical consideration than Ferguson ever suggests that it might need. Two points are fundamental. First, it is surely necessary to bear in mind that the pattern of free trade, particularly in the form of unlimited exchange of foodstuffs and raw materials for manufactured capital and consumer goods, generally operates over any significant period of time to the decided disadvantage of commodity producers.
The second follows from that: free trade cannot necessarily be equated with freedom of choice and opportunity. For example, the time at which any territory is drawn through the opening up of its trade into the globalizing economy can have a critical impact on its future development. The great variety of combinations of climate, geographical position, and natural endowment of resources, inevitably mean that each territory may be more or less well-placed to find its own niche in the range of economic openings prevailing at any one time.
Hence, as Donald Denoon demonstrated in his Settler Capitalism Clarendon; Oxford, , temperate lands of white settlement, faced with exclusion from industrial and manufacturing options, not only evolved their own forms of capitalism but did so largely irrespective of their colonial or independent status.
Moreover the distribution of any gains within individual states was often not directed to equalizing incomes. It was also about cash and other ways of making money.
By the end, the Empire was getting the attention of second rate minds. Tory imperialism certainly triggered its own reaction after the Boer War there is a sort of call-and-response between generations in this history in elite contempt for its own creation amidst awareness that the thing was built ultimately on brute force and was not cheap to maintain. It was then 'for sale'. Otherwise, the Empire might still be with us today as a set of conservative dominions.
At all times, Ferguson is fair and sophisticated in his approach. If one might dispute his conclusions at times, nevertheless he does lay out the facts that are relevant to the disputation and his opinions are always reasoned and plausible - at least for the first five chapters.
The final chapter is more problematic. Partly this is a matter of it being closer to our time. A lot of ground is covered in too short a space. Partly it is because he quietly and steadily slips into a sotto voce polemic in favour his conservative vision of neo-imperial Atlanticism. It is at this point that the reader feels he is leaving the land of 'objective' history and moving into the land of tele-subjectivism - not entirely but enough to feel a little uncomfortable and exploited.
Why - one asks - is there such an extended section on Gallipolli? For Australian sales? It does not help that chunks of imperial history are left out - East Asia scarcely exists in the narrative. The Opium Wars are mentioned only in passing. The Americans exist only to revolt and save us without any significant mention Anglo-American relations in the meantime.
Nevertheless, the book is recommended for its insights which are considerable, especially in those five first chapters. It is best probably to see this as a selection of evidenced opinions and insightful anecdotes and tales that add understanding to the wider narrative history.
On balance well worth reading but do not take it as all there is to say on the subject by any means and use your critical faculties not only in this case but all spin-offs from TV series to weed out the tropes and conventions of television which 'educate' us through insightful simplifications. My "four stars" here reflects Ferguson's book being an entertaining review of the Empire for the general reader and not having any obvious signs of bias, although given this is the first book I have read about the British Empire I don't have much else to judge it against and "being entertaining" is a pretty shallow criteria to assess a history on a subject as potentially controversial as the British Empire.
The book has a conclusion section which sums up Ferguson's view on the Empire and with his My "four stars" here reflects Ferguson's book being an entertaining review of the Empire for the general reader and not having any obvious signs of bias, although given this is the first book I have read about the British Empire I don't have much else to judge it against and "being entertaining" is a pretty shallow criteria to assess a history on a subject as potentially controversial as the British Empire.
The book has a conclusion section which sums up Ferguson's view on the Empire and with his key point being that if the British hadn't built their empire someone else would have and it could have been much worse - Belgian or French or Japanese or, indeed, German under Hitler given that as late as Hitler proposed a "Grand Bargain" with the UK where he would leave the British Empire alone if the British left Europe to the Nazis.
Churchill "did the right thing" in rejecting this pact, which was made by Hitler in bad faith in any case. To his credit Ferguson doesn't play down the contribution of countries in the Empire to WWI and WWII, with figures that surprised me on the large number of Indian and other troops from the Empire that fought in the two wars.
He makes the point that the Indian armies in WWII readily fought in the British side as the Indian population could clearly see that being part of a Japanese empire would be far worse. He also highlights the split personality of British rule, with on the one hand people on the periphery in the colonies happy to gun down the locals to maintain power as happened in Amritsar but the powers back in the UK quickly showing fairly genuine remorse, which is something Leopold of Belgium never showed for example.
On the economic side Ferguson does give some interesting statistics in his conclusion around how much less investment there has been in the less wealthy countries of the Empire after its dissolution compared with the time under British rule, the point being that the UK legal system and standards of governance and justice provided protections that encouraged trade and investment that have been weakened by corruption since.
Ferguson also does touch on the possibility that some of the investment and business activities of the British were exploitative and damaged local industry.
I think more could be said about this, so reading a book like Inglorious Empire would still be an excellent idea to give both sides of the argument - but even if Inglorious Empire makes a good case Ferguson's defense would surely be "The British Empire: Better than the Nazis" and in that at least he may have a point. View all 19 comments. Niall Ferguson, author of other non-fiction hits as "Pity of War", "The Cash Nexus" and 's "War of the World" offers a modern analysis of one of the most influential empires in history.
An Englishman, Ferguson tackles the history of the British Empire in this layman's volume of pages, rich with illustrations, maps, and photos stretching from empire's reluctant beginnings in the 17th century to the final collapse following WWII.
Niall has two great qualities for a history writer that ende Niall Ferguson, author of other non-fiction hits as "Pity of War", "The Cash Nexus" and 's "War of the World" offers a modern analysis of one of the most influential empires in history.
Niall has two great qualities for a history writer that endears him to this layperson - the ability to write history in a witty, conversational fashion, and a penchant for promoting alternative conclusions for historical events.
For example, he rates the British leadership over India as an overall positive thing, without which India would not have quickly risen to the heights it has obtained today, in fact, it may have easily fallen victim to the Japanese empire of WWII. Before reading this book, I had scant knowledge of the history of the British Empire, besides the stories of American colonial resistance to British rule, and the dysfunctional relationship of ruler and ruled in Burma detailed by George Orwell in his essay "Shooting an Elephant".
I came away from this book with a much more thorough understanding. All this was accomplished with a relatively small number of administrators and soldiers. Indeed, the colonial areas supplied large percentages of the Empire's soldiers for small regional conflicts and large wars with other European powers. Niall argues that this was accomplished by the relatively benign rule of the English and an increasingly loosened authoritarian grip, ending in a Commonwealth of states that survives in small form today.
Whereas other modern empires, such as Stalin's Soviet Union, Hitler's Reich and Tojo's Japan were ruled by a heavy hand and often brutal tactics, the British were more "hands off", their empire having more of a commercial orientation with occasional digressions into missionary movements and cultural assimilation.
Perhaps the most poignant point of the book was Ferguson's reasoning for the end of the British Empire - after being sapped of money and resources from the first world war, Britain was faced with a stark choice when Hitler began his campaign across Europe - agree to a peace deal with Hitler or lose the empire in a draining fight to the finish.
Ferguson argues that Churchill led England on the more noble path of imperial self-sacrifice for the good of the rest of the world. Another surprise for me was Niall's argument that Britain continued to lose imperial possessions after the war due to the sometimes predatory policies of the US. While the 20th century relationship between the US and Great Britain is often portrayed as one of friendship, Ferguson paints a picture of a US more interested in containing communist expansion at the expense of the British Empire during the Cold War.
Through a series of humbling military blunders and numerous independence movements among the colonies, British colonial administrators often found themselves presiding over poignant transfer-of-power ceremonies, the empire steadily disintegrating after the s to today's Commonwealth of a few scattered islands around the world.
Traditionally, empires are seen as evil accumulations of power, enslaving masses of subjects for the benefit of a ruthless ruling people. Niall argues that in the end the British empire was a positive presence in the world.
Ferguson says that without it, the spread of democracy, capitalism, even the predominance of the English language as the world's business lingua franca would not have happened, or to a much smaller degree. The first two or three chapters of "Empire" are rather concise and informative, thoughtfully explaining the nuts-and-bolts of how the British Empire came to be.
Unfortunately, much of the book subsequently devolves into coy and seemingly unintentional comparisons between Britain's empire in practice with, say those of the United States, Russia, Germany, France, and others. Ferguson very dutifully and diligently condemns those excesses of the British Empire, which he tactfully describes as "at its The first two or three chapters of "Empire" are rather concise and informative, thoughtfully explaining the nuts-and-bolts of how the British Empire came to be.
Ferguson very dutifully and diligently condemns those excesses of the British Empire, which he tactfully describes as "at its best amoral".
Unfortunately, these critiques are almost uniformly followed with unflattering comparisons with England's imperial brethren, as if to say 'The British imperial system wasn't perfect, but could have been worse! For example, English ships, according to Ferguson's estimates, shipped some 3 million Africans across the Atlantic and into slavery--how dreadful--fortunately for the soul of the British Empire, its use of the Royal Navy in intercepting the 19th century slave trade shows that its heart was in the right place.
Ditto the English treatment of Australian aborigines: The use of "what-ifs" and counter-factuals has a place in historical thought, and Ferguson has made great use of this rhetorical technique in the past.
The utility of such a device, it seems to me, loses much if not all of its effectiveness when it is deployed jingoistically or chauvinistically, however. If only this or that had happened, then America would be part of the British Commonwealth, or the poor savages of Africa could have been "civilized", and so on and so forth.
It all presupposes that a benign, market-driven, free-enterprise approach to empire produced the greatest the world had known to that point. That it produced a "great" empire is undisputed; that its greatness was of intentional benefit to anyone but the English and a narrow, wealthy minority at that is less clear.
Aug 12, Tim rated it it was amazing Shelves: I listened to an audio version of this superbly read by Sean Barrett with great fascination. For one thing, I learned about a number of aspects of the British Empire that I had not known before - as an American, learning about this aspect of history was not required reading beyond knowing about the American Revolution.
Secondly, I know that Ferguson is a well-known conservative intellectual - so I am happily surprised to see that this is a clear-eyed, well-balanced endeavor, one that does not I listened to an audio version of this superbly read by Sean Barrett with great fascination.
Secondly, I know that Ferguson is a well-known conservative intellectual - so I am happily surprised to see that this is a clear-eyed, well-balanced endeavor, one that does not sugarcoat the evils and flaws of the empire while making a convincing effort to enumerate its good points.
Also I would like to add that Ferguson is very good at illustrating this study with effective anecdotes and discussions of the many colorful and sometimes troubling characters connected with the empire, including Rudyard Kipling, Lachlan Macquarie "the father of Australia" , Lord Durham, General Kitchener, Cecil Rhodes, Stanley Livingstone, Warren Hastings, Queen Victoria, Thomas Pitt, T.
Lawrence, and many others. Ferguson discusses the empire from its beginnings the occupation of Northern Ireland to the present era. He points out that Britain was a latecomer to the empire building game, and had to struggle to catch up to Spain, Portugal, and Holland, but eventually did, through a combination of shrewdness, good financial moves, and piracy.
He goes over the defection of the USA at the time an insignificant place in comparison with the West Indies and their sugar plantations and its lasting impact, and points out that Britain was careful to not make the same mistake with Canada. The empire was maintained through a combination of factors, chief among them military might, naval power, and technical superiority.
But he also points out that the whole business was never all that profitable, and the glory and excitement of it were a huge part of its appeal. He makes a strong case that the real cause of its collapse was not the uprisings that occurred in India and other places, but financial devastation due to the world wars - the UK could simply no longer afford to maintain colonies.
Deeply jealous of its Anglo cousins, Germany utterly failed in its attempt to replicate empire building in Eastern Europe, but it did succeed in speeding the collapse of the British Empire.
Ferguson points out that the British, despite their racism and exploitation of native peoples, also did their best to govern fairly, and that in most places they left behind strong institutions and the foundations of successful democracies. He argues forcefully that the alternative would not have been free and peaceful self-governed lands, but the empires of Spain, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, and Belgium, all of which were far harder on native peoples than the British were.
Towards the end he makes the case that the Empire lives on in the work of its former colonies, primarily the world's only superpower today, the USA. He is aware that America, having been born in opposition to colonialism, does not like to see itself as a colonial power, but he argues that it is one anyway, not overtly but economically and culturally thus giving credence to the views of anti-Americans everywhere.
The difference is that Ferguson sees this as a good thing. Maybe the British Empire and its American heir are responsible for the spread of civilization, rule of law, and faith in liberty and decency worldwide. No doubt these points will be argued for many years to come, but they are well worth considering, especially when presented in a form that is thought-provoking and enjoyable to read, which is the case here.
This is an interesting book, to be sure, but nowhere near Ferguson's best. Still, if one plans to read "Colossus", one must read "Empire" first. The "Empire" has an excellent conclusion and some interesting analysis, but Niall Ferguson taints what could have been a brilliant work with strange forays into homophobia, rhetorical arguments that undermine his authority and an apologist attitude towards British rule that occasionally and thankfully only occasionally enters the realm of the absurd.
The latter is the history for the former's political science. I enjoyed this. Well written but am not that sure it had that much to say that was new. The British Empire being a good thing is not that new an idea is it? The Penguin edition is very cheap and worth the few dollars alone. Mar 12, Omar Ali rated it really liked it. If you are reasonably woke and you manage to read the last chapter, you cannot possibly give this book more than one star.
On the other hand, even if you are fully woke, you can easily give this book 4 stars as long as you are able to ignore Niall Ferguson's pro-imperial coda. The reason is straightforward; this is actually a pretty decent and except for the end, quite balanced history of the British empire. It is not a very long book, so it cannot cover all episodes, but most of the highlight If you are reasonably woke and you manage to read the last chapter, you cannot possibly give this book more than one star.
It is not a very long book, so it cannot cover all episodes, but most of the highlights good AND bad are here. No attempt is made to gloss over the genocides and cruelties, though a little bit of spin here and there is to be expected and can be excused.
I have read many books about the empire and this period of history, but this short book is as good a summary as any at least up to the 20th century, the 20th century part is not necessarily wrong in outline, but we know so much about events in India that it is hard to ignore the lack of detail, or the airy dismissal or dissing of some of our favorite details. It is also NOT a great book about how Britain made the modern world. It is better as a quick and entertaining history of the empire, not as deep analysis of how the modern world came to be.
THAT book would have to cover far more ground and sometimes, very different ground from what is covered here. As in his other books, he is always fun to read; e. And he is almost certainly correct in thinking that the alternative to the BRITISH empire would not have been an unsullied world, it would have been other empires, some much worse than the British. He is also very likely correct in his claim that it was bankruptcy and exhaustion from fighting wars with other imperial or would-be imperial powers, not anti-colonial struggles, that were the immediate and main causes of the end of the empire.
And one can also grant him the right to complain that when the US wanted Britain to wrap up its empire after world war two, it made no such demand of Russia or China whose empires were landward extensions of the homeland ; this "salt water" rule giving land empires a pass makes no logical sense.
If the British empire was bad and had to go, why not the Russian and Chinese ones? One lacuna in the "decline" section is the fact that he thinks it happened entirely due to fatal conflict with Germany and to a lesser extent, Japan and does not dwell on the possibility that the British themselves were just not up to being an imperialist power any more due to internal changes.
He does mention how the interwar generation was beset by doubts about the entire imperial undertaking, but then does not really get into why their imperial elan had been exhausted since his examples, e.
Orwell, do not seem to indicate that this was entirely or even mainly due to the horror of the first world war. That would have been an interesting area to get into and may shed light on why late capitalist USA is not exactly rearing to take up "the White man's burden". The wars may have bankrupted and exhausted Great Britain, but even without the wars, how long could an imperial project continue if it no longer enjoyed the enthusiastic backing of the empire's own elite?
And the last chapter really IS a bit too much. Even if his case for imperialism is correct, it needs much more elaboration and argument than is presented here. Perhaps the world really HAS changed, and occupation and direct imperial rule is simply no longer the best option, even for aspiring empires?
One also wonders what Niall Ferguson would write now, with hindsight? Does he still think the US should have conducted a straightforward occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and other countries? Is it even remotely possible that it would have been cheaper and more effective than the "neither fish nor fowl" experiment they did conduct?
Whatever your answer to this question, it is hard to be as blithely optimistic about it as Ferguson was in Still, well worth a read. Dec 23, Stephen Basdeo rated it did not like it. Right - wing, imperial apologist, neoliberal tosh.
Download Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, Niall
For me this was a great crash course on the growth and the achievements of the British empire written by N. Ferguson, which i thoroughly enjoyed! He poses a question in the beginning of the book: The Spanish, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the French i recommend you to read "why nations fail" as a compliment.
Coming back to "the Empire", it is indeed impressive to think how by the British empire covered around 25pct of the worlds land surface and roughly the same of the total population. Reading about the fight over Africa of the different European rivals was interesting and all in all I learned a lot about the British colonial history around the world.
Dec 05, Jim rated it it was ok Shelves: I was attracted to this following on from our South African holiday, where the remains of the Dutch and British Empires still have a massive hold on today.
Was the British Empire a Good Thing? Ferguson thinks so, but it is difficult to prove on this reading. Every one of his assertions could easily be countered, a fact he often admits.
Does slavery provide the trump card in the game? It's difficult to argue that the fabulous thing about slavery, from a British perspective, was that we abolished I was attracted to this following on from our South African holiday, where the remains of the Dutch and British Empires still have a massive hold on today. It's difficult to argue that the fabulous thing about slavery, from a British perspective, was that we abolished it.
The British were unique in cutting off their nose through abolishing a still very profitable trade. We didn't invent it, after all, and it was accepted practice for as long as men could throw spears and wield a club. So, aren't we great for getting rid of it?
Well, no. It's a bit like if we in the West abolish a lot of Third World industrialisation on the basis of environmental concerns, after building our wealth and society through an unremitting exploitation of the world's natural resources.
It's no' right. Another point that he admits is that if Britain hadn't squandered billions on expansion, but focused instead on letting free trade shape the world, Britain would be immeasurably richer and different today. All that talent that went abroad too, some of our brightest and best. I think, however, the things that sways me most against his arguments is his style.
The British Empire - it hasn't done bad for you and yours, has it mate?
But what about the townships, the ghettos and the native peoples of Africa, Australia and America? Would they agree, or would they tell you to kiss their black arse? Aug 24, Fiona rated it it was amazing Shelves: Excellent, easily read account of the ambitions of the British Empire by Scottish historian, Niall Ferguson. Having been schooled to be proud of its achievements, I finished this book knowing that I had not been told anywhere near the truth. It wasn't all news to me but much of it is an eye opener and gives serious pause for thought.
It is nevertheless a very positive view of empire and there is still much of which we can be proud. People who love history. An entertaining account of British Imperial history 16 April This book is brilliant. I first learnt of the author, Professor Niall Ferguson, when I watched the series called 'The Ascent of Money' and then read the book that the series was based upon.
So, when I saw this book in the bookstore it was an automatic download. Like 'The Ascent of Money' Professor Feguson deals with a complex topic in an easy to read and very engaging way.
In fact, the book reads more like a novel than a dry and du An entertaining account of British Imperial history 16 April This book is brilliant. In fact, the book reads more like a novel than a dry and dull history book. This it goes to demonstrate that history is much, much more than simply a collection of dates and dead people. In fact, when put forward as such, history plays out like a story that not even the greatest writer could create from his head and I can assert to that, not that I consider myself a great writer.
Anyway, what did I learn from this book? I say that because I do not believe that a book is worth reading unless you learn something from it. First of all,I discovered that Britain ruled the world from the Indian Subcontinent. India was indeed the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, which is why they fought tooth and nail to keep it.
I also learnt that because of its empire Britain was no match for any other budding world power. When you take into account the resources that it was able to draw upon there was no way that Napoleon or the Kaiser, or even Hitler, had any chance of defeating it. However, it is also true that if, at the turn of the 20th Century, you said that in 50 years the British Empire would be no more, you would have been laughed at and indeed, that was something that Winston Churchill did say.
Yet, it turned out that way. Finally, while I am not a fan of imperialism, and indeed not a fan of American Imperialism, we must always consider the alternatives, and this is something that India did in World War II.
Britain, as indeed America, are not perfect, but if the alternatives are Nazism, Imperial Japan, or Stalinist Russia, then in the end, the British, and now the American, empires are the much better alternative. Dec 15, Abraham Gustavson rated it it was amazing. This is a fast-paced survey on Great Britain and the Empire. Niall Ferguson packs this book with sharp wit and a keen eye for a good primary source.
From the Empire's humble origins of pirates and plantations to the Wars that bankrupted left it bankrupt, Ferguson brings the reader to all corners of the Empire, leaving no sun-lit stone untouched.
The book is organized by major periods during the Empire but comes alive through the accounts of familiar faces from world history: Ferguson does well to not get bogged down in complicated economic and political situations and breezes through in short paragraphs, giving the book light and fluid pace.
I learned the most from the final chapter, "Empire for Sale" which gave some of the most interesting information on how Great Britain lost its' Empire because of the World Wars.
Most people know of the missionary experience in Africa or the colonization of Australia, but less well known is how and why the Empire met its' demise when it did. In the conclusion Ferguson examines the major lessons of that the Empire can teach Britons as well as Americans who live in "an empire of denial. Feb 17, Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was amazing. I thought it was brilliant.
Here's what Library Journal had to say: 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. 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. Aug 07, Derek Bridge rated it liked it. And so, although his treatment of the British Empire in this book was recommended to me by someone whose opinion I would trust, I approached it with some caution.
Now it may be a sad reflection of my ignorance of the true history, but I did not find this book to be outrageously partisan.
Download Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, Niall
It seemed indeed to be reasonably balanced and, for the most part, engagingly written. It charts the good and the bad; it contrasts deliberate policy with individual self-interest; it condemns the racism and recognizes redeeming factors and their limits.
Of course, to cover so much ground pun intended in so few pages, it has to rattle along. Many important events are ignored or treated cursorily. I suspect that this is the source of some of the opprobrium. By elision, Ferguson lays himself open to criticism from those who probably hold equally partisan views of the neglected events. While I won't be rushing to read his other histories, this was a decent read. Sep 09, Ricardo rated it did not like it.
A thoughtful Indian historian has compared Fergusson's argument that India should be grateful for Britain colonizing it with a thief stealing your wallet and you having to be greatfull to be forced to make money.
The end of the book has a pathetic list of things Britain gave the modern world, like "team sport. Jan 13, Lewis Weinstein marked it as to-read Shelves: I'm reading this a little at a time, in between other books. Right now I'm up to the British takeover of India. It is very well written and fascinating. The Brits were awful! View all 7 comments.
Niall Ferguson's Empire is the powerful, and much talked about work on the rise and fall of the British Empire. From the introduction of the book and Ferguson's apparently glowing description of the Empire of old, it is easy to tell why controversy surrounded the piece. With family far flung across the former colonies of the Empire, it is easy to understand why Ferguson may have a positive outlook Niall Ferguson's Empire is the powerful, and much talked about work on the rise and fall of the British Empire.
With family far flung across the former colonies of the Empire, it is easy to understand why Ferguson may have a positive outlook on Great Britain's colonial adventures. Suffice to say, his family certainly isn't the reason. The balance of the book actually is a straight, economic and at times military history of the Empire.
Its rise, its fall and both the good, and the very bad of what happened in between. Ferguson, contrary to what his critics charge pure and straight love for imperialism holds no punches in describing the sheer brutality of the British towards their more rebellious subjects. He accurately describes the characters which led to its rise, its prominence and the factors which led to its fall; some good, some terrible and some certainly quirky.
Where the real controversy lies is the conclusion. Despite some of the horrors reigned on territories such as India throughout colonial rule, Ferguson makes an interesting, though completely economic argument that colonialism was, essentially, a good thing and certainly the best alternative to other empires such as the Belgian, French and especially the empires of the Axis Powers. The rule of law, property rights, anti-corruption, efficiency in the colonial bureaucracy and slowly but surely, the inception of democratic institutions are the true hallmarks of British rule in these territories which he cites.
An impressive statistic that a much higher proportion of ex-British colonies are democratic than any other colonizing power. The most interesting argument, however is that under colonial rule, the economic situation was drastically better.
The simple reason was that under British rule, foreign direct investment was much greater due to the security of British law.
Such security no longer exists. Indeed, this argument lays the ground for his next argument, that the United States should take up Britain's mantle as colonizer to secure the development of the third world and ensure global security.
Ferguson also trumpets Britain's ultimate sacrafice: In the end, Ferguson's book was more of a history of the British Empire with an explosive opinion article as a conclusion.
It's implicit that it's up to the reader to decide whether or not the economic and political benefits of Empire outweigh the means which Great Britain used not necessarily to gain it's Empire, but to maintain it. As a student of history and a member of a family with a slightly Imperial tradition, it's hard not to be impressed by the work and his opinions.
The greatest lesson that I believed that I've learned is that there are very few things in this world that are completely good or completely bad and through Ferguson's work that the British Empire clearly covers both the good and the bad side of Imperalism. This work proves that through the commemoration and education of the bad that occured, we can also be proud of the positive tradition and history of the British Empire.While the 20th century relationship between the US and Great Britain is often portrayed as one of friendship, Ferguson paints a picture of a US more interested in containing communist expansion at the expense of the British Empire during the Cold War.
Ferguson Niall. Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World
I say that because I do not believe that a book is worth reading unless you learn something from it. Ferguson ends the introduction saying, 'The question is not whether British imperialism was without blemish. Although Ferguson devotes significantly more space to the period after circa , the problem remains. People who love history.
Published in: He fails to include that Khudiram was only 18 when he was publicly hanged for the crime, and the other accused was cornered and committed suicide, and then his severed head was sent to Calcutta for identification.