By the beginning of the 20th century, there were very few countries or people who had not been affected, one way or another, by the impact of the British. The Empire itself by then covered over a quarter of the world's land surface, the Royal Navy dominated the oceans, and one in every four human beings lived under British rule.
Yet despite all of this global power and the emergence of Britain by the beginning of the nineteenth century as the world's first true superpower, the British Empire had very humble, small-scale origins.
In the course, we shall proceed chronologically, but also look more closely at particular themes and countries. The course will not provide a fully comprehensive survey, an enormous task anyway; rather, we shall seek to uncover and understand the essential historical truths about this mightiest of empires.
©2004 Denis Judd; (P)2004 Recorded Books
As a Senior Citizen with spare time I wanted to have a simultaneous account of what went on during the centuries covered in this book, and found Denis Judd's story fascinating. He weaves the histories of east and west, as they affected Britain, with consummate skill, and held me spellbound. The division into manageable chapters with questions at the end of each from his students were an added bonus. I will return to this book again and again when I forget some detail as I am 83, and although enjoying new knowledge find it slips through the net too often. But Denis will be there with his lively descriptions for me to remember. Well done, I wish I had been taught History in High School in the same way. As I recall I was 'bottom- of the my class in this subject back in 1941. Maybe because my school was destroyed by Luftwaffe firebombs didn't help! Needless t say, the ability to listen to this book on my iPod with earphones whilst using my hands to garden or paint water-colours was something I had never had before,offering full use of every moment of my spare time. Everyone, young and old, should "read" this book.
I am studying a University course about the British Empire and found this a great introduction to the topic. Each chapter is an ideal length at about 30 minutes maximum. I liked Judd's conversational style, very easy to follow and covering the important points. I listened to this walking into work in the morning. I have not checked out the online material available to support this audio file.
"Despite the stylish shortcomings"
Despite the stylish shortcomings, this set of lectures on the British History is highly digestible and to the point, I like the way Judd summerised the lecture into point form before every lecture.
"British Empire a force for good?"
Despite that Judd realizes that the purpose of empire (any empire) is to transfer the wealth from the colonies and dependent peoples into the pockets of the ruling classes of the homeland, he declares that overall the empire did more good than bad to the people under British control.
This is an opinion one will not hear from an Indian, African, Chinese or any other historian whose country found itself on the receiving end of British Imperial doing good. I wonder why?
Judd should listen to his own teaching, forget that he is British and hence has to vindicate British history, and call the empire what it was; a racist and cruel tool for exploitation and domination. (That's what he teaches anyway.)
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