Author(s): Jeremy Paxman
THE INFLUENCE OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE IS EVERYWHERE, from the very existence of the United Kingdom to the ethnic composition of our cities. It affects everything, from Prime Ministers' decisions to send troops to war to the adventurers we admire. Whether it's the sports we think we're good at or the architecture of our buildings, the way we travel or the way we trade, the hopeless losers we urge on or the food we hunger for, the British Empire is never far away.
In this acute and witty analysis, Jeremy Paxman goes to the very heart of empire. As he describes the selection process for colonial officers ('intended to weed out the cad, the feeble and the too clever') the importance of sport, the sweating domestic life of the colonial officer's wife ('the challenge with cooking meat was 'to grasp the fleeting moment between toughness and putrefaction when the joint may possibly prove eatable'') and the crazed end for General Gordon of Khartoum, Paxman brings brilliantly to life the tragedy and comedy of empire and reveals its profound and lasting effect on the British.
'sardonically funny.' Daily Express
'witty, incisive, acerbic and opinionated... His research is wide-ranging and his treatment consistently stimulating. In short, he carries the whole thing off with panache bordering on effrontery.' Sunday Times
'A very engaging account, built mainly around dramatic incidents in exotic places...... with a good sprinkling of jokes, funny nicknames and sexual references.' Guardian
'An entertainingly sardonic survey of imperial projects.' Times
'Paxman has an eye for detail, and his sharp intelligence quickly detects, and ridicules, the eccentric and plain weird.' The Observer
'He writes with wit and penetration, and every page of Empirecan be read with relaxed pleasure.' Spectator