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A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 Hardcover – February 6, 2007

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The English-speaking nations—America, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies—are a "decent, honest, generous, fair-minded and self-sacrificing imperium" and "the last, best hope for Mankind," argues this jingoistic peroration. Roberts (Napoleon and Wellington) treats them as a political-cultural unity, thriving on respect for law and property, laissez-faire capitalism and the Protestant ethic, and standing together against Nazism, communism and Islamic terrorism. (Ireland is the black sheep—backward, unruly, pro-fascist and Catholic.) His rambling, disjointed survey celebrates their achievements in science, technology, sports and Big Macs, but the book is mainly an apologia for an allegedly benign Anglo-American imperialism. The author defends virtually every 20th-century British or American military adventure, from the conquest of the Philippines to the Vietnam War, finishing with a lengthy justification of the invasion of Iraq; his villains are domestic critics and leftist intellectuals whom he calls "appeasers" and who sap the English-speaking peoples' resolve by propagandizing for totalitarianism (also Mel Gibson, whose anti-British movies sabotage English-speaking peoples' solidarity). Roberts writes in a bluff, Tory style, mixing bombast with jocular Briticisms like a running leitmotif of whimsical geopolitical wagers placed at London clubs. Lively but unsystematic, sometimes insightful but always one-sided, this is less a history than a chest-thumping conservative polemic. 16 pages of b&w photos, 2 maps. (Feb. 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Roberts has written a lengthy, ambitious, and interesting but flawed work intended as a sequel to Winston Churchill's A History of the English-Speaking Peoples,which ended with the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. Robert eschews straight narrative history. Instead, he provides a series of vignettes covering various topics that range across the English-speaking world. He offers descriptions of the Boer War in South Africa, the role of capitalism in promoting economic development, and the American-supported coup that overthrew the Allende government in Chile. Roberts strains to show the fundamental unity of English-speaking peoples. He is somewhat convincing when dealing with Britain, New Zealand, and Australia. When he includes the U.S., he often goes to ludicrous lengths to find commonality. For example, he equates American neoconservatives with Britain's "empire men" in their supposed desire to spread civilization. In conflicts from the Boer War to the American suppression of the Philippine insurrection, Roberts consistently sees only the purest motives of "Anglo-Saxons." Still, this is a useful, if slanted, look at some key events of the twentieth century. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1St Edition edition (February 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060875984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060875985
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,059,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 112 people found the following review helpful By John A. Barnes on March 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have just now finished Andrew Roberts' magisterial "History of the English-Speaking Peoples" and I can say without reservation that I have not felt so exhilarated by a history book since first closing the cover on Paul Johnson's "Modern Times" 24 years ago.

Henry Luce said that the 20th century would be "the American Century." It would be more accurate to call it "the Anglosphere Century." Locked arm in arm, and not without squabbles and occasional bad feeling, the English-speaking peoples cam together in the 20th century to repel the assault on civilization by what can only be described as barbarism in four of its modern forms: Prussian militarism (twice), Communism, and now, Islamo-fascism. Well, three of them have been seen off, anyway. The fourth, we shall see.

Roberts demonstrates decisively that no other possible correlation of forces could have accomplished these worthy goals. The English-speaking world's long history of government by consent, public audit of government performance, an impartial judiciary, and general sense of fair play gave it enormous advantages over the supposed "efficiency" of the Germans, the Soviets' ruthlessness, and (we all must hope) Osama bin Laden's frightfulness.

And yes, Roberts has a point of view. He is unabashedly pro-free enterprise, pro-defense, worships Winston Churchill and even has some kind words to say about George W. Bush. All of this, particularly the latter, has caused many, including most of the loopier "reviewers" on this page - few if any of whom, I venture to say, bothered to actually read it - to go completely 'round the bend.

Look, if what you want to keep you warm at night is a book that will tell you it's all Bush/Blair's fault and Al Qaeda will disappear like a soap bubble at noon on Jan.
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121 of 146 people found the following review helpful By Albert S. Copersino on March 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Reviewers who've disparaged this author refuse to accept the objective facts discussed in his book and the inevitable conclusion that arises from these facts: uniquely among great powers, the US and Britain have mostly been a force for good in the world. Simply compare, as the author does, the overall progress and freedom of the American sphere during the Cold War to the terror and privation of the Soviet bloc. Or the fact that the legacy of Britain's Empire is, predominantly, a series of countries with freely-elected parliaments (versus the blood-thirty dictatorships that have taken root in France's ex-colonies). Or recall the genocides comitted over the years by other world powers (Russia, Germany, Japan, China, Turkey, etc.). Unless you're incurably hostile to democracy and capitalism (capitalism being the economic manifestation of democracy), or to the use of military force to defend democracy against fascists (of any stripe or religion), this book will resonate with you.
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63 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Troy on March 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A review has appeared in "TCS Daily" that makes me think the author gives this title five stars,because of this text:

"It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to write a book that explicitly picks up where Nobel Prize winner Winston Churchill's famous History of the English-Speaking Peoples left off. In a provocative new book, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 (HarperCollins, 2007), however, British historian Andrew Roberts largely succeeds in pulling off that daring stunt."

and states:

"Indeed, just as Churchill's History was intended to rally the Anglosphere in the early days of the struggle against Communism, Roberts' intent self-evidently is to rally the Anglosphere against Islamofascism."

Well worth reading if you are interested in buying the book:

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130 of 168 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is admittingly imperfect. Like the revisionist histories he refutes, the author does not develop his thesis so much as prove it. But unlike all those "post-colonial" histories that gave us two generations of feeble and trivial misinterpretations guided by self-loathing and misplaced guilt, Roberts gives us a genuine narrative in the grand tradition - or tries to.

Roberts' literary shortcomings should not completely eclipse the validity of its thesis: the English-speaking world since 1900 has been, when all the chips are counted, a monumentally positive force for human good. The level of economic success required to produce a typical New Yorker is vindication enough: i.e. someone completely beholden to material wealth, rarified and removed from nature, working on abstract projects, unable to fix a leaky faucet; the recipient of tremendous blood sacrifices and military/technological might who nevertheless believes America is essentially "rascist," Bush a "fascist," capitalism and business "evil," global warming "real," etc. The existence of such a being, and our regimes' ability to absorb so, so much internal criticism and self-reflection and hucksterism, point to the uniqueness and success of the Anglo-American project. At this level, most hate is envy.
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54 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Bertram Shelton on March 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A refreshingly unapologetic commentary on the historically very positive impact of the English Speaking Peoples on world affairs in the last century or so. A tonic for those of us who reject the total cynicism, negativism and defeatism of so many commentators and intellectuals present even in our own societies. Hard to put down. Highly recommended.
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