By Simon Schama
The ultimate level of Simon Schama's epic voyage round Britain spans centuries, crosses the breadth of the empire and covers an enormous expanse of subject matters - from the start of feminism to the destiny of freedom.
The destiny of the Empire asks an important questions on the character of empire, travelling from celebrations of commercial and imperialist strength on the nice Exhibition, to the catastrophic Irish potato famine and the Indian Mutiny.
Through the army and financial shocks and traumas of our earlier, Schama asks the query that continues to be with us - is the mammoth weight of our background a blessing or a curse, a present or a millstone round the neck of our future?
This 3rd and ultimate quantity within the sequence is an enormous compelling heritage, made extra so through the energetic storytelling and massive daring characters on the middle of the motion. yet along flamboyant heroes, like Nelson and Churchill, Schama recollects unsung heroines and almost unknown enemies. along the grand principles, he exposes the grand illusions that price untold lives.
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Extra resources for A History of Britain: The Fate of Empire 1776-2000
Everything is clean and tidy. Every man, however poor, looks proud of himself. Not a beggar is to be seen, and even the cabmen are well shaved. As for Germany, Hitler still seemed a long way from office. But Churchill’s literary sales there were non-existent; and since he was writing for the greatest democracy in the world – writing so to speak to ‘the gallery’ – he played on the latent anti-German sentiments in the English-speaking peoples. In one American article he denounced the Customs Union established early in by Germany and Austria as ‘a revival of the secret Old World diplomacy’ beneath which lurked Anschluss – the dreaded union of German-speaking peoples.
Can you imagine a more treacherous way of treating not only two former colleagues in various Governments, but two prominent people in his own party? Months of acrimonious investigations followed. The mood is illustrated by lines that Hoare wrote on June , to the acting viceroy, Lord Derby’s brother George Stanley: ‘I do not know which is the more offensive or more mischievous, Winston or his son [Randolph]. ’ On June , the Committee of Privileges unanimously threw out Churchill’s complaint.
Samuel Hoare squirmed beneath the sting of Churchill’s sarcasm. His correspondence with the viceroy of India, Viscount Willingdon, and the governors of the provinces reveals his real anxiety about Churchill’s ‘entirely selfish and wrecking’ campaign. ’ Churchill was out to smash the government, he said: ‘He will stick at nothing to achieve his end. India gives him a good fighting ground as he can play upon the ignorance . . ’ However effective Winston’s attack may be, there is a great body of opinion in the country that will never trust him and even the extreme right of the Conservative party, whilst these will use him for their own ends, would never, I believe, take him as their leader.
A History of Britain: The Fate of Empire 1776-2000 by Simon Schama