The writing is throughout lucid and unpretentious, the judgements sensible and stimulating and the scholarship fully abreast of recent developments ... a timely and accomplished volume. ( English Historical Review)
Professor Louis himself is not merely supremely well qualified on grounds of scholarship, but is also a man of integrity, generosity of mind and, above all, wisdom. These first two of what is to be a five-volume History will surely put at rest any lingering fears that the work might be prejudiced or in any other way inadequate ... a comprehensive picture of the early years of the imperialist adventure ... the Oxford History will be something that most general readers will like to have on their shelves to consult from time to time ... If the rest of the work is carried out with similar authority, with the same magisterial design and craftmanship in the detail, this will be an achievement of which the editors and the University Press can be properly proud. ( Philip Ziegler, Daily Telegraph)
Splendid and endlessly fascinating history of the most splendid and fascinating of all empires ... this looks like becoming a useful and generally very fair survey which should help even academics distinguish between the ethics of the British in search of empire and those of, let us say, the French ... this does what a serious history should do, and allows the reader to come to his own conclusions. ( Philip Hensher, Spectator)
Meticulously planned and flawlessly executed, providing texts that are both scholarly and accessible. The combination of thematic chapters on the empire as a whole, and regional ones on particular parts of it, is especially effective ... Another notable feature is the objectivity and sensitivity with which the contributors handle emotive and controversial subjects. ( Simon C. Smith, Times Higher Education Supplement)
Fresh... important, interesting as well as judicious, thoughtful as well as scholarly. Throughout, this is an important and thought-provoking volume. ( Jeremy Black, Albion)
Volume I of the Oxford History of the British Empire explores the origins of empire. It shows how and why England, and later Britain, became involved with transoceanic navigation, trade, and settlement during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The chapters, by leading historians, both illustrate the interconnections between developments in Europe and overseas and offer specialist studies on every part of the world that was substantially affected by British colonial activity. As late as 1630 involvement with regions beyond the traditional confines of Europe was still tentative; by 1690 it had become a firm commitment.
The Oxford History of the British Empire is a major new assessment of the Empire in the light of recent scholarship and the progressive opening of historical records. It deals with the interaction of British and non-western societies from the Elizabethan era to the late twentieth century, aiming to provide a balanced treatment of the ruled as well as the rulers, and to take into account the significance of the Empire for the peoples of the British Isles. It explores economic and social trends as well as political.
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