The final stage of Simon Schama's epic voyage around Britain spans centuries, crosses the breadth of the empire and covers a vast expanse of topics - from the birth of feminism to the fate of freedom.
The Fate of the Empire asks crucial questions about the nature of empire, journeying from celebrations of industrial and imperialist power at the Great Exhibition, to the catastrophic Irish potato famine and the Indian Mutiny.
Through the military and economic shocks and traumas of our past, Schama asks the question that is still with us - is the immense weight of our history a blessing or a curse, a gift or a millstone around the neck of our future?
This third and final volume in the series is a vast compelling history, made more so by the lively storytelling and big bold characters at the heart of the action. But alongside flamboyant heroes, like Nelson and Churchill, Schama recalls unsung heroines and virtually unknown enemies. Alongside the grand ideas, he exposes the grand illusions that cost untold lives.
Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. His award-winning books, translated into fifteen languages, include Citizens, Landscape and Memory, Rembrandt's Eyes, A History of Britain, The Power of Art, Rough Crossings, The American Future, The Face of Britain and The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words (1000 BCE - 1492). His art columns for the New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for criticism and his journalism has appeared regularly in the Guardian and the Financial Times where he is Contributing Editor. He has written and presented forty films for BBC2 on subjects as diverse as Tolstoy, American politics and John Donne.