The Foundation of the British Empire.

I see lots of books on this topic, but before actually purchasing one, can someone suggest a version that just deals with the facts and is not padded out with some revisionist historical "facts" or some authors personal possibly skewed viewpoint?
I've not read this entire thread - sorry if one is mentioned.
 

Mrsheeny

War Hero
I see lots of books on this topic, but before actually purchasing one, can someone suggest a version that just deals with the facts and is not padded out with some revisionist historical "facts" or some authors personal possibly skewed viewpoint?
I've not read this entire thread - sorry if one is mentioned.
I've recently bought a set of books on the Empire that were printed in 1920, in order so it was factual or at worst biased in favour of the Empire. I think they were originally secondary school education books by Gin and Co but they're alright, nice easy read.
 
To my eyes/thoughts 'Empire' by Niall Ferguson was OK - seemed to have a balance and seemed to look at most angles without being judgemental - you can always go and read up about something if you need more in depth look etc... I wanted a relatively concise timeline, causes & effects that I could then expand upon.

I actually try and stay away from stuff like this because there will always be some sort of bias and I prefer to look at a multitude of different sources and see where it leads.

Also interesting having an Indian wife and discussing some of the things with her to have her opinions too.
 

Yarra

Old-Salt
I see lots of books on this topic, but before actually purchasing one, can someone suggest a version that just deals with the facts and is not padded out with some revisionist historical "facts" or some authors personal possibly skewed viewpoint?
I've not read this entire thread - sorry if one is mentioned.
I highly recommend The Pax Britannica trilogy, by Jan Morris (C1968 ). A fantastically evocative and informative trilogy.

on Amazon;

  1. Pax Britannica Trilogy at Amazon | Pax Britannica Trilogy, Low...
    Ad·www.amazon.co.uk/


 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
The Rise and Fall of the British Empire is ok...

Though the author's bias becomes hilariously self evident in the last couple of pages.
 

4(T)

LE
I see lots of books on this topic, but before actually purchasing one, can someone suggest a version that just deals with the facts and is not padded out with some revisionist historical "facts" or some authors personal possibly skewed viewpoint?
I've not read this entire thread - sorry if one is mentioned.


A little off thread but, funnily enough, the PC game Empire:Total War is actually a fairly accurate and educational simulation of how the Empire first came about - at least the starting states and the background timeline/tech tree.

Playing as Britain, you start in 1700 as a rather weak island nation with no real army, and a few arms-length colonies in the Americas. Having to build a navy to shield the homeland against the formidable European powers also has the effect of facilitating trade overseas - but also drives the development of expeditionary warfare skills and strategic global bases. Better to fight a land superpower by knocking off a few of their possessions (Canada, Caribbean islands, et al), and then ringing them with naval bases to support blockade (Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria).

In all seriousness, playing that game gives a real context to the geopolitical decisions faced by Britain in the 18th century, and illustrates how the early phase of Empire occurred almost by accident.


+1 for Pax Britannica trilogy.

I find it hard to read anything written after the 60s - most books since then seem to slavishly follow the same revisionist agenda, without placing events in the context of their time.IMHO in a few years they'll be teaching kids about the glorious history of Wakanda....
 
A little off thread but, funnily enough, the PC game Empire:Total War is actually a fairly accurate and educational simulation of how the Empire first came about - at least the starting states and the background timeline/tech tree.

Playing as Britain, you start in 1700 as a rather weak island nation with no real army, and a few arms-length colonies in the Americas. Having to build a navy to shield the homeland against the formidable European powers also has the effect of facilitating trade overseas - but also drives the development of expeditionary warfare skills and strategic global bases. Better to fight a land superpower by knocking off a few of their possessions (Canada, Caribbean islands, et al), and then ringing them with naval bases to support blockade (Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria).

In all seriousness, playing that game gives a real context to the geopolitical decisions faced by Britain in the 18th century, and illustrates how the early phase of Empire occurred almost by accident.


+1 for Pax Britannica trilogy.

I find it hard to read anything written after the 60s - most books since then seem to slavishly follow the same revisionist agenda, without placing events in the context of their time.IMHO in a few years they'll be teaching kids about the glorious history of Wakanda....
As long as they don’t forget Umboto Gorge...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

JCC

War Hero
Harry Flashman...start at the beginning and follow to the end. As good a summary of the strategy of Empire as I've read.
 
A little off thread but, funnily enough, the PC game Empire:Total War is actually a fairly accurate and educational simulation of how the Empire first came about - at least the starting states and the background timeline/tech tree.

Playing as Britain, you start in 1700 as a rather weak island nation with no real army, and a few arms-length colonies in the Americas. Having to build a navy to shield the homeland against the formidable European powers also has the effect of facilitating trade overseas - but also drives the development of expeditionary warfare skills and strategic global bases. Better to fight a land superpower by knocking off a few of their possessions (Canada, Caribbean islands, et al), and then ringing them with naval bases to support blockade (Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria).

In all seriousness, playing that game gives a real context to the geopolitical decisions faced by Britain in the 18th century, and illustrates how the early phase of Empire occurred almost by accident.


+1 for Pax Britannica trilogy.

I find it hard to read anything written after the 60s - most books since then seem to slavishly follow the same revisionist agenda, without placing events in the context of their time.IMHO in a few years they'll be teaching kids about the glorious history of Wakanda....
It seems like Emperor Xi of the Imperial PRC has also got that game and is using a version of it for the new China World Empire in the 21st Century.
 
If the 1972 BBC TV series 'The British Empire' is still available I recall that being good.

I was only Ickle but can't remember any obvious bias. Took me a while to get beyond Google default to 'The Brittas Empire' but it appears it may be out there - let's petition the BBC to re-release it in DVD or repeat.
 
To my eyes/thoughts 'Empire' by Niall Ferguson was OK - seemed to have a balance and seemed to look at most angles without being judgemental - you can always go and read up about something if you need more in depth look etc... I wanted a relatively concise timeline, causes & effects that I could then expand upon.

I actually try and stay away from stuff like this because there will always be some sort of bias and I prefer to look at a multitude of different sources and see where it leads.

Also interesting having an Indian wife and discussing some of the things with her to have her opinions too.
I can firmly recommend 'The Anarchy' by William Dalrymple, the history of the East India Company minus the heavy airbrushing that the Victorians laid over the whole ' how did we get India?' question. Amazing stuff including the menace of the French Revolutionary garrisons and their Republican Indian allies.

Cracking, eye opening read
 
I found the Rise and Fall Of The British Empire by Lawrence James for 50p at a local charity shop. Will try at the weekend.
 
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