Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World

Ghosts of Empire Britain s Legacies in the Modern World The British Empire was the creation of a tremendous outpouring of energy and opportunism when the British were at their most self confident and the wealth they gathered was prodigious At its heart l

  • Title: Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World
  • Author: Kwasi Kwarteng
  • ISBN: 9780747599418
  • Page: 288
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The British Empire was the creation of a tremendous outpouring of energy and opportunism, when the British were at their most self confident, and the wealth they gathered was prodigious At its heart lay a sense of the rectitude of the British way of life, meted out to vast swathes of the rest of the world without let or hindrance Yet, as this book shows, the empire was nThe British Empire was the creation of a tremendous outpouring of energy and opportunism, when the British were at their most self confident, and the wealth they gathered was prodigious At its heart lay a sense of the rectitude of the British way of life, meted out to vast swathes of the rest of the world without let or hindrance Yet, as this book shows, the empire was not formed by coherent policy, and its decline reflected this its later years were characterised by a series of accidental oversights, decisions taken without due consideration for the consequences, and uncertain pragmatism Many of the world s trouble spots are those left behind by the chaotic retreat of empire, and its ghosts continue to haunt today s international scene The problems the empire encountered have still not been resolved and in Iraq, Kashmir, Burma, Sudan, Nigeria and Hong Kong new difficulties have arisen which continue to baffle politicians and diplomats This powerful new book addresses the realities of the British Empire from its inception to its demise, questioning the nature of its glory and cataloguing both the inadequacies of its ideals and the short termism of its actions.

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    1. Ghosts of Empire is a series of essays on different parts of the British Empire from the late 1700s through to post World War II independence. It’s an interesting cavalcade of characters and plot lines all driven by the notion of imperial global dominance. The author, a Conservative MP, is quite forgiving of many of Empire’s more brutal moments but, having clear African lineage himself, is more even handed than some of his party contemporaries may be when discussing the likes of Burma, Iraq, [...]

    2. The main argument of this engaging account of the British Empire is that the British Empire never had a coherent central policy to guide its colonies that were spread all over the world.Kwasi Kwarteng visits six different colonies (Iraq, Nigeria, Kashmir, Hong Kong, Burma, and Sudan), in which he reviews how the British administration governed those colonies. He reaches the conclusion that the British Empire was ruled by individuals and, therefore, each colony was ruled differently without any c [...]

    3. The unifying theme of Ghosts of Empire is of the haphazard, non-consistent nature of the British Empire, where the idiosyncratic decisions of individual governors made for widely varying policy. As great the latitude given these individuals may have been, Kwarteng points out that they tended to share a rather narrow educational background --mostly "public" (boarding) schools, preferably of a limited "approved" set, usually concentrating in History or Classics, often more athletically than academ [...]

    4. Ignore the Date Started, it should be June 15this was a very disappointing book, The book was in many an apology for the gross misconduct of England in unwinding the Empire. I only three of the six or seven section, Iraq, Burma & Hong Kong and only Hong Kong resembled the truth of how the British handled the granting of independence and the fact that India was omitted is even more telling.The prejudice of civil servants and terrible planning and actions of the high administrators is made to [...]

    5. I loved this book. The setup; covering several of the UK's historical colonies, was excellent and thoroughly enlightening. I was disappointed solely in my [pathetic] reading pace. I'd read 2 chapters in 2 days, then not touch it for a month or more. The episodes of history covered were places of which I had only the shallowest understandings. I can rank this one of my all-time favorite history books. 4/5 stars only because it wasn't quite enthralling enough to keep me regularly hooked.

    6. Great great book , very nuanced and unbiased view ! This books deals with the legacies of the empire in today’s world . Kashmir, Iraq, Sudan, Nigeria , Burma and Hong Kong are dealt with , each with sufficient depth and scholarship . I found the HK part a little bit of drag , the other essays / chapters are fast paced and very informative .

    7. This is a book about the British Empire - but not including the self-governing (white) dominions - that stakes out a very specific argument and then presents six case studies to support it. The argument is largely a critical one with multiple parts.First, the British Empire was not about freedom and western "values" as is claimed by apologists for empire. The political evolution of Great Britain as a nation is not reflected in the empire. Second, the empire was about the enlightened and benevole [...]

    8. Economic historians and scholars of international development agree that corrupt political institutions established during the colonial period have hindered development and provoked conflict in many Asian and African countries. In Ghosts of Empire, Kwasi Kwarteng shows how these exclusionary and extractive institutions of governance arose from the short-sighted decisions of 'men on the ground' in the British Empire, who were more motivated by securing the allegiance of feudal monarchs and protec [...]

    9. Two sentences towards the end of Kwasi Kwarteng’s excellent “Ghosts of Empire” sum up the thematic strands that make this book so insightful and enjoyable. The first illustrates the often under-appreciated tension between British society and its far-flung empire: “The Whiggish notion that British history, with its Magna Carta and Glorious Revolution, was the story of the development of freedom and liberal ideas of government… did not apply to any real extent to the British Empire, whic [...]

    10. Kwarteng's book focuses on the last 150 years of the British Empire from the perspective of the men who ruled it, considering different areas in both Asia and Africa (Iraq, Kashmir, Sudan, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Burma). While interesting on paper and evidently well researched, this project feels too fragmented most of the time. I think the problem arises because the author takes into consideration such a long period of time and so very different areas. So quite often the chapters are reduced to a n [...]

    11. Freaking amazing history book of the British Empire and all the messes it left in this world. I would say it's compelling and important book for people who want to learn more about the British Empire. Holding together his chronicle on the end of empire in Iraq, Kashmir, Sudan, Nigeria, Burma and Hong Kong is Kwarteng's thesis of "anarchic individualism". In essence, there was too much autonomy given to imperial agents on the ground. "Officials often developed one line of policy only for successo [...]

    12. A tremendous work of scholarly research and a treasure of information about the British Empire and its colonies and how the entire Empire was administered. The book has sections on Iraq, Kashmir, Sudan, Burma, Nigeria and Hong Kong - all states under the rule of the British Empire and an analysis of what went on in these states during the rule --- and the author's main contention of how decisions of individuals, rather than policies formed by London affected the destiny of these states and more [...]

    13. The chapters are really separate essays linked by a theme running through all of them. Kwarteng discusses Iraq, Kashmir, Burma, Sudan, Nigeria and Hong Kong. He shows how different the histories were and explains this as the result of British culture of empire.“There simply was no master plan. There were different moods, different styles of government. Individuals had different interests; centralizing influences were often dissipated by individuals on the ground…” 160Necessity dictated a f [...]

    14. Written by a conservative member of the British Parliament who is the son of immigrants from West Africa, this book attempts to spin a grand theory of the worldview that shaped and united the men (and they were men) responsible for administering various portions of the British Empire. While the book doesn't really succeed in it self-appointed task, it does deliver a set of concise, well-written essays that sketch the histories of six parts of the former British Empire (Iraq, Kashmir, Burma, Suda [...]

    15. This book is a fabulous history of six of the British colonies: Iraq (a mandate), Sudan, Burma, Kashmir, Nigeria, and Hong Kong. It is a fabulous talle of the collapse of these ventures, or with Hong Kong, a surrender to China. So far, so good. But then it analyszes the colonial officers as elitests far out of the emerging norm of Britain. much more structured and class conscious. Still okay. But then the leap that the problems of these places is, in terms of Scottish justice, “unproven” tha [...]

    16. Some of the best nonfiction I have read in some time. Kwarteng, a Tory MP, is writing against the likes of Niall Ferguson who continues to implore the US to take up the White Man's Burden and to look to the halcyon days of the British Empire. Kwarteng argues that the British Empire was poorly run and the outcomes of the empire were mixed at best, disastrous at worse.His case study approach, which focuses on regions like Iraq, Kashmir and Nigeria, has left him open to criticisms that he is cherry [...]

    17. Kwasi Kwarteng's book is a study of British imperialism's effects on the modern world. This fine work is a remarkably clear-eyed view of a sensitive subject, and details the various ways in which imperial aspirations have left lasting scars in a number of regions. Kashmir, Iraq, Nigeria, the Sudan, Hong Kong and Burma at one time were all part of Britain's globe-spanning empire. And Kwarteng makes the interesting point that, although each area experienced different types of control, in each case [...]

    18. The book is an engaging study of the relationship between Great Britain and six of its "colonies" - Iraq, Kashmir, Burma, Sudan, Nigeria and Hong Kong - and what went wrong in each of them. Great Britain, the author argues, had no grand theory of empire other than self interest. The British authorities (many times locals rather than the officials in Whitehall) treated the colonies in an ad hoc manner and simply made mistakes on key issues. The author, a Conservative member of Parliament, deals w [...]

    19. This book presents a unique take on British Imperialsim, arguing that it was Philosopher king like British aristocrats who ruled the colonies on whim rather than some defined set of policies dictated by the mainland British government. The most informative and enjoyable bit personally for me was the Kashmir chapters as it presented some of the most balanced views I have yet had to read. I also enjoyed the chapters on Iraq, Burma and Hong Kong. This book is highly recommended to any seeker of Imp [...]

    20. There are many books looking at the 'glories' of the British Empire but this isn't one of them.A real eye opener of just how and why some of the post empire areas appear as they are now, a legacy of poor decisions, arrogance and little consideration for possible consequences are how I would best describe this read.Although there may have been many achievements by some extraordinary people, Kwarteng exposes the reality of this period of British history, one that is breath-taking in its ability to [...]

    21. This was a nuanced and reflective look at the British Empire, the inherent characteristics, and lasting legacies in several areas of the world including Hong Kong, Iraq, Kashmir, Burma, and Sudan. It was quite readable, despite the complexity of the personalities and conflicts described within. The research and knowledge needed to undertake this book must have been phenomenal. The author stuck to his conclusions regarding individuality and the mostly negative legacies of the Empire but he was ne [...]

    22. An above average read on several key areas of the British Empire and how common threads influenced the governance, and the future, of the former British Empire. I wouldn't call this a particularly positive or negative book on empire - more a general even handed to slightly pro look at what the Empire was. The big elephant in the room is India. While there is a chapter on Kashmir, there is almost no mention of India in general. This, for a book on the British Empire in the 1800 and 1900s, is a bi [...]

    23. Positive points - This is a very well researched book. However, it is not an engaging book. I feel like there was a chance for real storytelling here that was passed up for mere recitation of quotes and timelines and facts. The author has some sparse and uneven analysis, until the Nigerian chapter, when suddenly the author started to write the booked I hoped for. It didn't last. To sum, the book needed more storytelling, less style writing.

    24. Interesting book. The author may be right. perhaps the British Empire was run by a very small group of people from a very narrow social group, without consistent policy except to preserve partrition snobism. Apparent the soldier/civil servants involved created thier own policies in the absence of interest in Westminster.

    25. Well-argued account of how some pockets of the British empire continue to bedevil the world and how this particular state of affairs came to being - though I have certain reservations about the conclusions that seem to be more obvious in hindsight and wonder what the other options would have turned out to be. But an immense work of scholarship nevertheless and eminently readable.

    26. While the book was a good read as with Tory politicians Kwasi Kwarteng stopped short of condemning the British Empire. Which is self evident in light of the continuing problems in the world were caused by the empire's interference around the world.

    27. This is a series of short pictures on parts of the British Empire. All the mini histories were well researched.Some of the tales were pacey well described and worth reading. Unfortunately I found others to be over wordy and filled with too much detail. This is why I'm giving the book 3 stars.

    28. Quiet a book on how there was no pattern yet all the British Ruled countries had the distinctive characteristics of British imperialism. How individuals shaped the history of these turbulent countries with each case as distinctive as the individuals themselves were from each other.

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