–Karl E. Meyer, Washington Post Book World
“Complex . . . Lucid . . . Every page is consistently readable and stimulating.”
–Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The New York Times Book Review
“The author is such a lively writer that I’d be hard pressed to find dull patches in this whooper of a book . . . Brendon’s narrative is wonderfully stocked with generals, politicians, rugged adventurers, consuls, eccentrics, administrators, and famous imperial hands.”
–Matthew Price, Boston Globe
“A richly detailed, lucid account of how the British Empire grew and grew–and then, not quite inexorably, fell apart.”
"A book of enormous range and complexity and leavened with a splendid sense of wit and irony. It takes courage to emulate the great Gibbon, but Brendon succeeds magnificently. And while there may be many books on the British Empire, this is undoubtedly the most entertaining and the best."
--Dominic Sandbrook, The Evening Standard
"A masterpiece of a historical narrative. No review can hope to do justice to the depth of Brendon's research, the balance and originality of his conclusions, or the quality and humor of his prose. Our imperial story has been crying out for a top-flight historian who can write. Now it has one."
--Saul David, Literary Review
"Brilliant . . . An enthralling mini-series of colonial adventure . . . [Brendon's] book is stuffed with a myriad spectacular examples of human vanity, folly, depravity and greed--and is all the better for it."
--Robert McCrum, The Observer
"[A] sumptuous chronicle of the British empire. . . . A compelling and spectacularly detailed retelling of imperial "rise" as well as fall . . . A glittering panoply of decadence, folly, farce and devastation."
--Maya Jasanoff, Saturday Guardian
"A narrative masterpiece. The settings are exotic, the cast of thousands full of the most eccentric, egotistical, paranoid, swashbuckling players you are likely to meet in any history.... An endlessly engrossing and disturbing stream of anecdotes and vignettes that Brendon tells with extraordinary flair and sympathy, warts and all." --Richard Overy, Sunday Telegraph