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. From the sports we think we're good at to the architecture of our buildings; the way we travel to the way we trade; the hopeless losers we will on, and the food we hunger for, the empire is never very 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 our nation and ourselves.
'Paxman is witty, incisive, acerbic and opinionated . . . In short, he carries the whole thing off with panache bordering on effrontery' Piers Brendon, Sunday Times
'Paxman is a magnificent historian, and Empire may be remembered as his finest work' Independent on Sunday
In a new landmark series for BBC One, Jeremy Paxman tells the remarkable story of the British Empire. Delve into the world of our imperial past and explore one of the largest empires in history, whose influence stretched all over the globe.
Empire is a captivating series that traces not only the Empire’s rise and fall, but explores the complex effects it had on the modern world – political, technological and social – and equally the effects of the Empire on Britain.
Travelling across the globe, Jeremy really brings to life the extraordinary characters, burning ambitions and surprising principles which created an empire that has so influenced the shape of the world we see today. The series weighs up the complexities of the British Empire, its glories, its tragedies, its triumph and its curse, as well as shedding new light on its consequences.
From India to Canada, the Far East to Africa, Jeremy finds out how the Empire began as a pirate’s treasure hunt and grew into the largest global financial network the world has ever seen; how the British created a particular idea of home wherever they conquered and settled; how Britain spread the gospel of sport, laying the foundations for almost all the major sports of today; and explores the many different ways in which Britain took and held power in the Empire.
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