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The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire


  • 80 b/w illus. 120 colour illus. 12 maps
  • Page extent: 400 pages
  • Size: 253 x 203 mm
  • Weight: 1.405 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521002547 | ISBN-10: 0521002540)

Up to World War II and beyond, the British ruled over a vast empire. Modern western attitudes towards the imperial past tend either towards nostalgia for British power or revulsion at what seem to be the abuses of that power. The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire adopts neither of these approaches. It aims to create historical understanding about the British empire on the assumption that such understanding is important for any informed appreciation of the modern world. Through striking illustration and a text written by leading experts, this book examines the experience of colonialism in North America, India, Africa, Australia, and the Caribbean, as well as the impact of the empire on Britain itself. Emphasis is placed on social and cultural history, including slavery, trade, religion, art, and the movement of ideas. How did the British rule their empire? Who benefited economically from the empire? And who lost?

• Special boxes on key aspects of the subject • Superb illustration and an authoritative, readable text • First-time paperback, at a price accessible to students, of successful trade hardback


Introduction: the world shaped by empire P. J. Marshall; Part I. The History of Empire: 1. The British empire at the end of the eighteenth century P. J. Marshall; 2. 1783–1870: an expanding empire P. J. Marshall; 3. 1870–1918: the empire under threat P. J. Marshall; 4. 1918 to the 1960s: keeping afloat P. J. Marshall; Part II. The Life of the Empire: 5. For richer, for poorer? David Fieldhouse; 6. Power, authority, and freedom A. J. Stockwell; 7. Empires in the mind Andrew Porter; 8. Imperial towns and cities Thomas R. Metcalf; 9. British emigration and new identities Ged Martin and Benjamin E. Kline; 10. The diaspora of the Africans and the Asians P. J. Marshall; 11. Art and the empire John M. Mackenzie; Part III. The Imperial Experience: 12. Imperial Britain P. J. Marshall; 13. Australia K. S. Inglis; 14. Africa Toyin Falola; 15. British rule in India: an assessment Tapan Raychaudhuri; Conclusion: Empire in retrospect P. J. Marshall; Reference Guide: British imperial territories from 1783; Further reading; Contributors; Acknowledgements; Index.


'… a critical, balanced, lucid, and endlessly fascinating survey of the British empire in all its complexity and human drama for the general reader.' Boston Book Review

'This impressive book more than does justice to the breadth of empire and its influence … a fascinating and impressive achievement.' Tim Newark, Military Illustrated

'… an interesting story readably told …' Yorkshire Gazette & Herald


P. J. Marshall, David Fieldhouse, A. J. Stockwell, Andrew Porter, Thomas R. Metcalf, Ged Martin, Benjamin E. Kline, John M. Mackenzie, K. S. Inglis, Toyin Falola, Tapan Raychaudhuri

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