THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE covers the history of British expansion overseas from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. Narrative and analysis are interwoven with revealing eyewitness quotation to provide keen insight into the minds of those involved in conquering, settling and ruling the greatest Empire the world has seen. Throughout, there are consistant themes; the search for profit and the moral misgivings it generated; domestic developments which made imperial expansion desirable; and the sense of national and personal destiny felt by the empire-builders. Spanning four centuries and six continents, James' magnificent survey examines the imperial experience and its legacy with tremendous verve. Informed, comprehensive and perceptive, it is the essential summary of the era. 'James' epic is not only a first-rate narrative, but also a penetrating portrait of the British...Having largely, if often inadvertently, selfishly or ham-fistedly, engineered the world we live in, we need the courage now to face up to our record as coolly and intelligently as Lawrence James has done' - John Spurling, TLS
Lawrence James was a founder member of York University and then took a research degree at Merton College, Oxford. After a distinguished teaching career he has emerged as one of the outstanding narrative historians of his generation.