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Empire Made: Two Centuries of British Influenced Globalisation -bookcover

By: Allen George Duck

Empire Made: Two Centuries of British Influenced Globalisation

Pages: 380 Ratings: 5.0
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This broad history traces many of the key political and educational events that shaped two significant centuries of the British Empire. This vast imperial enterprise presided over a quarter of the world’s landmass and came close to achieving a world economy. A commercial expansion that was backed by Britain’s aristocratic gentry but governed by a new breed of university educated administrators. An elite group produced to manage Britain’s overseas interests – and to incidentally create the image of the stereotypically unflappable ‘Brit’. Universities and Empire advanced in a loose confederation that underpinned the progress of globalisation – a process that interconnects international trade and economics via technological advances in communication and transport. Globalisation permeates territorial boundaries and borders, it blurs the perception of distance – the sun may have long since set on the British Empire, but its administrators contributed mightily to shrinking the world it left behind.

 Allen George Duck has worked in the film and photography industry as a cinematographer and a writer. He became involved in higher education and in conveying film-craft to students. This lead to a specific interest in education and a PhD in the subject. He has since returned to freelance film-making and still enjoys reading and writing about historical subjects.

Customer Reviews
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1 reviews
  • David Marx

    Clearly motioned upon in the Introduction‘’This book is a very broad history which ties the process of globalisation (an expression of whole world awareness), together with the rise and fall of the British Empire (which moved toward a whole new world economy) and the universities whose graduates administered the enterprise.’’

    These 314 pages excluding References is a very timely, straight talking, although ultimately dry read (which it didn’t need to be). But as the United Kingdom remains deeply entrenched within a cornucopia of Jubilee Fever this weekend, Empire Made – Two Centuries of British Influenced Globalisation really is the sort of read that will have those camping along The Mall in veritable sweats of excitement.

    I primarily write as much due to the following: ‘’As Britain’s overseas possessions expanded, its universities became ever more ‘imperialised’ by their efforts to meet the demand for suitable graduates. The students themselves, having assimilated the behaviour and manners of the ‘English gentleman; would have considered a foreign or colonial posting ‘one of the plum prizes’ afforded by their education. These liberally educated civil servants were sent to the far-flung outposts of empire where they demonstrated the Oxbridge ideals of ‘balance and detachment’ leavened with a little ‘knightly gentleness and honour.’’’

    Hmm, ‘balance and detachment.’

    Now there’s a quaint phrase.
    Particularly when placed alongside such non-deferential Oxbridge and Etonian suave as that so chaotically demonstrated once the current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson – replete with vapid wife in tow – arrived at St. Paul’s to celebrate aforesaid Queen’s 70th Jubilee.
    But wait, there’s more, as this book’s author Allen George Duck continues: ‘’Their aptitude for organisation and fair-play was to promote ‘Western norms of law, order and governance around the world.’ The Oxbridge ethos of ‘education for leadership’ became widely accepted as ‘a specifically English tradition.’ The attitudes and methods of this overseas administrative elite became the basis for the stereotypically unflappable ‘Brit’ – a good chap with a sense of honour who can be relied upon to keep emotions in check, to remain calm in difficult circumstances and to face possible danger with nary a tremble of the upper lip.’’
    If the British Isles could do with anything right now, it really isn’t remaining ‘’calm in difficult circumstances and to face possible danger with nary a tremble of the upper lip.’’ The country is in both dire straits and in dire need of a leadership that knows the difference between total disaster and the lining of ones’ own pocket(s).

    There again, Johnson and his Cabinet of Crooks are not new to British politics (nor empire).

    The whole intrepid idea of robbing the poor and giving it to the rich was initially triggered by none other than Margaret Thatcher, back in the eighties; which luckily, Duck touches upon in the chapter ‘1974-1989 – Intractable Economic Difficulties’: ‘’The beginning of 1981 saw the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States. Promising that America would once again ‘stand tall’ in the world, Reagan would provide Thatcher with one of her most powerful allies. This ‘distinctly odd couple’ had struck up a friendship in London some years previously; they not only liked each other but also held ‘almost identical political views.’ Although different in temperament, neither Reagan nor Thatcher was overtly concerned with political subtlety and both tended to ‘paint in primary colours.’ Within days of his arrival at the White House, Ronald Reagan was enthusiastically launching a neo-liberal strategy formulated by a council of leading economists in which Milton Friedman played a prominent role. Cautious political advisors warned the President against becoming closely associated with the economist Friedman, the policy of monetarism and the unpopular Mrs Thatcher. The President ignored the advice and publicly endorsed Britain’s monetarist plans declaring that the economic programmes of both nations would soon be ‘home safe.’’’
    And the rest as they, is history.
    A history, which,when brought right up to date, includes the recent inauguration of Margaret Thatcher’s statue in Grantham (attended by five people, three of whom were Press) and the inevitable devolution of the United Kingdom itself.

    Let’s not even talk of empire.

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