Unlike most encyclopedias this volume has a brilliantly conceived unifying theme about the struggle for territory in Europe and beyond for over a hundred years. Carl Cavanagh Hodge is an excellent editor. He has brought together sixty scholars to define, describe and explain over 800 topics of imperialism. Hodge's excellent introductory synthesis of the period from 1800 to 1914 binds together the disparate subjects. He then indexes the book in such as way as to allow the reader to examine the historical entries from the point of view of concepts, treaties, alliances, geographical regions and countries, battles, institutions, leaders, statesmen, conflicts and wars.
The 19th century witnessed momentous and rapid change. The European wars over territory and authority combined with overseas exploits led to a period of massive globalization, not seen before in the world. Expansion in the Americas, Africa and to some extent in Asia was accompanied by a growing commercial integration. There was not a political union such as the League of Nations and the United Nations later provided, but still the world grew steadily closer together. Commercial activity in the form of trade and banks forced interdependence among states even while they contested over territories and peoples.
There has been much superficial discussion in recent year about whether or not the United States has become an "empire" or has imperial ambitions. These popular treatises pale beside this complete treatment of the imperial empires of Britain, France, Germany, the Habsburgs, Japan, Ottoman, Portugal, Russia, Spanish and the United States. This book will help to nuance these ideas.