The Spectacle of Empire by Jan Morris (1982, Hardcover)

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The Spectacle of Empire
Style, Effect and the Pax Britannica
by Jan Morris
Publisher:  Doubleday & Company, Inc.
Copyright 1982

The British Empire was one of the most astonishing phenomena of modern history:  a quarter of the earth's landmass (almost 11 million square miles) under the suzerainty of a small island off the Atlantic coast of Europe.  The Empire had been acquired almost by accident, an island here, a port there, but by the end of the nineteenth-century it dominated the lives of over 372 million people.  The English language, British ideals, British notions of justice and civilization, British taste in art and architecture could be found in every corner of the world, in Europe, Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, and on what the Colonial Office List called 'nearly all the isolated islands and rocks in the oceans'.

In The Spectacle of Empire the style of this phenomenon at its apogee is re-created by Jan Morris, who understands better than anyone else the tangle of mixed motive, glory, arrogance, brutality, splendor and tragedy that brought the British Empire to its triumphant climax at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

Illustrated with an unsurpassed collection of paintings and photographs (many of them published here for the first time), this book shows not only what the Empire looked like in all the eccentric far-flung magnificence of its apex, but also what it meant to the imperialists.  Jan Morris makes it possible to understand the explosive emotional force that has left behind it across the world such unmistakable mementos of its passing.

Condition:  Used.  Hardcover.  Dust cover.  Pages are tanned and darkening from age.  Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the front endpaper.  Dust covers are tanned from age.  Dust covers show a bit of edge wear and tear and creasing.  THIS BOOK IS FOUR POUNDS.


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    • ISBN 0385181167
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