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A short history of colonialism 1st Edition

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0719083280
ISBN-10: 0719083281
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Wolfgang Reinhard is Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the University of Freiburg, Germany


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719083281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719083280
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,596,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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This book is one of THE best books I've ever read. It's basically a financial history of the colonial period. In this book, Reinhard does a balance sheet perspective on colonialism and the analysis is absolutely excellent.

In most cases when people talk about colonialism, the definitions of colonialism aren't rigorous and (as in the Marxist case) the definitions of colonialism/empire/imperialism are so heavily based on emotion/sentiment as to be absolutely useless. Reinhard starts off as defining imperialism as a tool of colonialism to exploit a social, economic, or political advantage in some kind of a development gap. Then, he goes on to detail the historical aspects.

Unlike most people that talk about colonialism, Reinhard actually takes an extensive look at how the balance of payments shifted. The funny part is that most "historians" of the colonial time period don't even bother to glance at the balance of payments.

Usually, most depictions of colonial history turn into a story about "evil Europeans" and while the Europeans certainly weren't saints, it's not quite right to turn colonial history into a European apologist story. The Asian societies had very sophisticated forms of government and when the Europeans left, they clearly showed themselves capable of governing. In the case of Japan, I believe Japan was a top 3 world power by 1900 (the top 3 IMO are the US, the British Empire, and Japan). China was also very powerful for a long time before a mix of internal and external pressures forced it to fragment, which was largely due to the incompetence of a few rulers.
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