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British Imperialism (Histories and Controversies) Paperback – February 8, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0333947265 ISBN-10: 0333947266

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Product Details

  • Series: Histories and Controversies
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (February 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333947266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333947265
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,035,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'The focus on debates in imperial history (rather than the usual narrative) will make this useful.' - Zoe Laidlaw, University of Sheffield 'Very useful - and concise - overview.' - Dr M. Farr, University of Newcastle '...a crisp and thoughtful analysis...his book will be read with profit...' - D.George Boyce, The Journal of Military History '...a crisp and thoughtful analysis...his book will be read with profit...' - D. George Boyce, The Journal of Military History

About the Author

Robert Johnson is Lecturer in History, Richard Huish College, Taunton.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kang Joung Yo on February 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
It must be said that the previous reviewer seems to have an issue with the fact that the author fails to adequately slam the "evil imperialists" of the British Empire. I suspect that the last line of his review contains all that we need to know. This is an enormously ambitious topic to cover in a single volume and purports to be merely an introduction to some, not all, of the main debates/controversies related to the continuing discussion of the motives, methods, and effects of British imperialism. The author is careful not to fall into the old trap of reading our modern values back into history and is certainly no fan of post-colonial theory, which, is all the rage on US campuses. However, while he may not be overtly 'PC', neither is he a frothing apologist of empire. Rather, he presents the major arguments of both sides as they have developed and as they stand at the present. Of course he injects something of his own views but certainly there is nothing there to offend unless one has a prior viewpoint that must be pandered to. American readers should be aware that the academics cited throughout are overwhelmingly British or Indian, and all the greats are there from MacKenzie and Porter to Said and Hopkins. A good start to a fascinating and very involved subject.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dapper Dan on November 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
This apologia for empire reads like an extended version of a first year university student's paper which has attempted to be controversial by rejecting decades of careful scholarship so that it could take the most counter-intuitive position imaginable.

It may indeed be some large-scale, subtle prank inspired by Alan Bennett's play The History Boys. In that play, the history teacher instructs his pupils that in order to stand out, they should start by taking the position directly contrary to the conventional wisdom and work backwards from there to support this thesis. One might think of it as the Niall Ferguson/David Cannadine school of British history.

Mr Johnson may have the desire to be as contrarian as Ferguson or Cannadine, but he has neither the skill nor the breadth of scholarship to carry it off. Where they come off as cheeky and clever, Johnson appears ill-prepared and out of his league. His evidentiary base is shockingly thin, little more than a standard reading list for a comprehensive exam in a British history graduate program.

Finally, not only hasn't Johnson read widely, he has not read well either. He consistently mischaracterizes arguments of those with whom he thinks he disagrees. Likewise, he uniformly paints every British imperial action in the best possible light and any criticism of imperialism in the worst possible one.

This book is a complete failure.
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By Rebecca Graf on September 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
Are you looking for a good book for your research in British, Africa, American, World, or Asian history? Do you want to learn more about British imperialism? Robert Johnson's British Imperialism might be the one for you.

When one researches or just wants to get a clear understanding of any historical point, they have to research all sides and get all takes on the subject. Robert John's British Imperialism is another argument in the subject of British imperialism that is a great addition to any library.

If you are looking for a book that is anti-British, you have not found it. If you are looking for one where the British are perfect in every way, this is not it. This book, while not entirely unbiased, gives an excellent attempt at looking at the effects of the British Empire on the lands it conquered.

This is a dry read. It is an academic book and not meant to be one easily read quickly in an afternoon. You will find more information than you had planned on.

Sadly, the only images available were three maps in the beginning of the book which is useful but actually so little hinders those of visual learning style. The rest of the book was text and not easily read.

I really did like the fact there was version of timeline in the book as well as a notes and bibliography section that was extremely useful.

Do I think this is THE book to have for history? No, but I do believe it is a valuable addition to your historical research library.

Note: This book was part of a class the author was in.
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By D. J. C. on August 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book for a class I was taking, it was on the optional list but as I am overly interested in the subject I decided to buy it. I was not at all disappointed. It is a fantastic book to read and research in an effort to understand British Imperialism and its goals. It helped me to understand a bit better how the British Empire worked as a unified machine, and even how the American colonies fit into the picture.
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