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Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Angloworld, 1783-1939

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199297276
ISBN-10: 0199297274
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Comment: PLEASE READ BEFORE PURCHASE: Hardback. Moderate wear to dust jacket. Stamp on top book edge. Cover pops up at spine, but cover/binding is still strong. Underlining, highlighting, and writing. Multiple dog-eared pages.
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Editorial Reviews

Review

`A great contribution to large-scale history: constantly sparkling in its style, humorous, and offering profound new insights. A magnificent book.' Jared Diamond, UCLA, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of the best-sellers Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse

About the Author


James Belich is professor of history at the Stout Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington. He previously held the inaugural Keith Sinclair Chair in History at the University of Auckland, and has held visiting positions at Cambridge, Melbourne, and Georgetown Universities. His earlier books, all award-winners, include a two volume general history of New Zealand, Making Peoples and Paradise Reforged, and The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict, winner of the Trevor Reese Prize for an outstanding work of imperial or commonwealth history published in the preceding two years.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 573 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199297274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199297276
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 2.1 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Brian Sweeney on November 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With "Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World, 1783-1939", James Belich emboldens his reputation as New Zealand's leading historian. After 25 years of deeply researching and presenting/re-presenting the emergence of Aotearoa New Zealand and its people, indigenous and colonial, and the relationships and politics of each, he turns his narrative towards the rise of the Anglo-World. He combines a grand sweep with meticulous research and a novelist's eye for lateral detail.

Belich was so successful at challenging received historical wisdom in his first book, "The New Zealand Wars" (1987) that his radical take on the 19th century conflict between the British and the Maori has become today's orthodoxy. However, Belich is not a revisionist for the sake of political correctness or provocation. "The New Zealand Wars", in which he awarded a number of pivotal battles to Maori tribes for the first time in (literally) recorded history, was first and foremost a towering feat of historical research.

Belich is a writer who does not allow the density of the subject matter to heavy his prose. This is his thesis: European settlement of the New World came in three successive waves - networks (especially of trade), empire (through conquest), and settlement; that it amounted to a `settler revolution', characterized by the spectacular growth of Anglophone peoples and culture across the globe; and that the settlers themselves were neither heroic nor especially villainous. Belich spells out how British world colonization involved four phases - incremental, explosive, decolonization, and recolonization - each shaped by identifiable social, political and economic forces.
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Format: Hardcover
I rate this book as "5 star" even though I want to disagree with one of the author's conclusions. I agree with the 2 reviewers who have preceded me, and will not repeat anything they have said, most usefully, as an assessment of the book. This book establishes Belich as a colossus of historianship. He has presented as near-comprehensive a set of data and observations as one could wish for, so that someone like me who might draw a different conclusion to the author himself, can do so using the author's own work. This is true dispassionate historianship, so Belich absolutely deserves 5 stars.

This is simply one of the most educational books you will ever read. Readers will glean insight after insight about subjects that intersect with the main one. For example, I am extremely passionate about the process of socio-economic, path dependent evolution that leads to developed, urbanised economies and a wide spectrum of different city types - I love the work of Fernand Braudel and Colin Clark and Sir Peter Hall. The "big picture" scholarship that is provided by reading this book, is well worth the effort even if you have a distaste (politically correct civilisation self-loathing!) for the central subject. The economic and socio-economic evolution of urban form is enmeshed with the subject, and I constantly picked up points that I was unaware of.

Belich quotes the famous urbanist Lewis Mumford several times and convincingly refines Mumford's points on things such as the progress of civilisation from the technologies of "eo-technic" to "paleo-technic" to "neo-technic".

Belich says, correctly in my view, that Mumford insuffiently identifies the vast flowering of older technologies as the new ones start to be established - for example, "....
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Format: Paperback
This well written and thoughtful book is a description and analysis of Anglophones came to dominate such a large fraction of the world. Belich uses a comparative approach, describing the settlement colonizations of North America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa to describe the common dynamic features of anglophone settlement. The highly successful anglophone diaspora resulted in the generation of a substantial number of successful states dominated by anglophones and with considerable cultural continuity with the British anglophone homeland. Belich shows well that this phenomenon resulted from the conjunction of a number factors. England, while not the most successful initial European colonizer, established footholds in many parts of the world during the 17th and 18th centuries. British success in the Napoleonic Wars left it as the premier imperial-colonial power, partly because the Napoleonic struggles impoverished potential European competitors. British demographic and economic dynamism endowed it with the people and capital to colonize much of the world. The relative peace and relative ease of long distance marine transport allowed mass movements. As Belich points out, this phenomenon was largely duplicated in North America by the USA, providing a second major source of anglophone colonization. As he points out also, American settlement colonization was abetted mightily by British investments. Belich discusses some institutional features of the British anglophone lineage, notably early self-government, that may have played an important role.Read more ›
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