Imperial Federation, Map of the World Showing the Extent of the British Empire in 1886

Imperial Federation, Map of the World Showing the Extent of the British Empire in 1886

The Decline and Fall of the British Empire is a title suggesting that its author, Piers Brendon, sees himself a worthy successor to Edward Gibbon. And indeed Gibbon is often invoked in these pages as though he were a guiding spirit. A man of the Enlightenment, Gibbon attributed right and wrong in accord with the preconceptions of his day. But he had the imagination, the empathy, to appreciate that people in the past had other beliefs and standards and so did things differently. For the historian, description is one element in coming to terms with the past, and passing judgment is another, and the ability to keep them...

 

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