Empire by Niall Ferguson
A grand narrative history of the world's first experiment in globalization, with lessons for an ever-expanding American Empire--from England's most talented young historian. The British Empire was the largest in all history, its reach the nearest thing to world domination ever achieved. By the eve of the Second World War, over a fifth of the world's land surface and nearly a quarter of the world's population were under some form of British rule. Yet for today's generation, the British Empire has come to stand for nothing more than a lost Victorian past--one so remote that it has ceased even to be a target for satire. The time is ripe for a reappraisal. In this major new work of synthesis and revision, Niall Ferguson argues that the British Empire should be regarded not merely as vanished Victoriana but as the very cradle of modernity. Nearly all the key features of the twenty-first-centu ry world can be traced back to the extraordinary expansion of Britain's economy, population, and culture from the seventeenth century until the mid-twentieth--economic globalization, the communications revolution, the racial make-up of North America, the notion of humanitarianism, the nature of democracy. Displaying the originality and rigor that have made him the brightest light among British historians, Ferguson shows that far from being a subject for nostalgia, the story of the Empire is pregnant with lessons for the world today--in particular for the United States as it stands on the brink of a new kind of imperial power based once again on economic and military supremacy.