At its peak, the British Empire was the biggest empire in all history. It governed a quarter of the world's land and dominated all its seas. It laid the foundation for the global triumph of capitalism; gave the world its common language, English; and exported both Protestantism and parliaments. How did Britain manage to achieve all this?
This is the crucial question addressed by Niall Ferguson. He shows how the British wrested power from their rivals, and explains how the British Empire rose - and why it finally fell.
©2003 Niall Ferguson (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
Some Hints on Reading to Those Interested to Know How This Popular British Historian Depicts the Contemporary World as Heritage of the British Empire:
1. One of the possible manners of reading this book may be to enjoy it vis-a-vis "Civilization - the West and the Rest", another book of the author which, though admittedly the Western world would now seem to be facing a downfall, brings into relief the 6 factors (advantages to him) of this civilization:
1)competition, 2)science, 3)property (proprietorship), 4)medicine, 5) consumption, 6)work.
2. According to the basic view of "Empire", the British Empire acted as midwife to modernity that has dominated, and has been followed by, the entire world, and the United States stands on the brink of a new era of imperial power, based once again on economic and military supremacy.
3. Based on the above premisses, readers may be able to consult some other points for discussion. For example:
a) What is the ultimate goal of civilization and its prosperity? Do you seriously believe this manner, economic or politic, of competition is truly 'effective' - even on the brink of autodestruction of humanity due to a possible world atomic war, environmental breakdown, dumbing down by mass media, propaganda, public education, etc.?
b) In fact, the casualities in the 20 century are by far the most numerous in history. And there has never been a time in history when the so-called 'civilized men' face the risk of total extinction due to their own greed and insanity.
Yet the author totally ignores the actual state of U.S. after 9.11, as well as the reason so many wars have been breaking out throughout the last centuries owing to the so-called 'merchants of death' reputed to have profited from endless wars.
c) Speaking of the Chinese culture, the author ignores the ancient wisdoms (Eastern and Greek) of the Axial Age (Jaspers), according to which no economic pursuit destroying the harmony of a whole society is permissible.
"Enlightening & inspiring"
The book was well researched & eloquently written & the narrator was articulate & smooth with a real feel for the subject.
The outing of the truths there-in was very refreshing & felt like my understanding of history was finally being washed clean.
SB brings a lovely inspired & honest tone to the story, with a sense of empathy & forgiveness as well as courage to express the shameful acts of history. His voice & accent are well matched to the book.
Too long to listen to in one sitting, I would have if I could & admit that I listened long into the night, past when I should have... It's a book one doesn't want to put down.
This is a book I would encourage anyone to read for it's clean honesty & balance of truths & forgiveness. I will be encouraging many people I know to read it for it's well set out historical facts & insights, & for the way it put everything into perspective that had previously seemed to be just sets of attrocities or political acts etc. in history. The Individuals involved were given a real face in a way one could not access previously via letters & records etc.
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