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Main page » Non-Fiction » British Imperialism (Histories and Controversies)

British Imperialism (Histories and Controversies)


What was British imperialism and was it an important element of modern globalization? Were economic, political or military factors paramount in imperial expansion? Do post-colonial theories assist or mislead historians? How have histories of imperialism changed, and are current analyses satisfactory?

Robert Johnson's invaluable guide offers a succint, easy-to-follow introduction to the key issues and historiography of British imperialism from its origins to the conversion to the Commonwealth.

British Imperialism
- provides concise introductions to key questions and debates
- takes a question-based approach to analysis of the material
- offers an assessment of the significance of economic, military and political factors in imperial expansion and decolonization
- presents critical appraisals of the most recent controversies including neo-colonialism, cultural imperialism, post-colonial theory, and gender and imperialism
- includes a useful guide to further reading

Using vivid examples, Johnson clearly explains the nature of British imperialism and enables the reader to understand the causes, course and immediate consequences of the British-colonial encounter on a world-wide scale. His book is an essential starting point for all those new to the subject and a helpful introduction to more recent debates.


This essential guide offers a succinct, easy-to-read introduction to the key issues and historiography of British imperialism from the late 18th century to the present. Each chapter addresses questions posed by the nature of imperialism in its various military, economic, political, and cultural forms, while current controversies--including the impact of Orientalism and post-colonialism--are explained and set in the context of previous debates. The first book in the new Histories and Controversies series, British Imperialism enables readers to rapidly assimilate both historiography and key aspects of Britain's imperial power and influence.


This is an enormously ambitious topic to cover in a single volume and purports to be merely an introduction to some, not all, of the main debates/controversies related to the continuing discussion of the motives, methods, and effects of British imperialism. The author is careful not to fall into the old trap of reading our modern values back into history and is certainly no fan of post-colonial theory, which, is all the rage on US campuses. However, while he may not be overtly 'PC', neither is he a frothing apologist of empire. Rather, he presents the major arguments of both sides as they have developed and as they stand at the present. Of course he injects something of his own views but certainly there is nothing there to offend unless one has a prior viewpoint that must be pandered to.

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Tags: British, imperialism, Imperialism, Histories, Controversies, historiography