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Empire

How Britain Made the Modern World
Narrated by: Niall Ferguson
Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins
Categories: History, British
4.8 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Once vast swathes of the globe were coloured imperial red and Britannia ruled not just the waves, but the prairies of America, the plains of Asia, the jungles of Africa and the deserts of Arabia. Just how did a small, rainy island in the North Atlantic achieve all this? And why did the empire on which the sun literally never set finally decline and fall? Niall Ferguson's acclaimed Empire brilliantly unfolds the imperial story in all its splendours and its miseries, showing how a gang of buccaneers and gold-diggers planted the seed of the biggest empire in all history - and set the world on the road to modernity.

©2004 Patrick Hennessey (P)2004 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Dazzling ... wonderfully readable." (New York Review of Books

"A remarkably readable précis of the whole British imperial story - triumphs, deceits, decencies, kindnesses, cruelties and all." (Jan Morris)  

"The most brilliant British historian of his generation. Ferguson examines the roles of "pirates, planters, missionaries, mandarins, bankers and bankrupts" in the creation of history's largest empire...he writes with splendid panache...and a seemingly effortless, debonair wit." (Andrew Roberts)

 

What listeners say about Empire

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Excellent

An excellent overview of the British empire, balanced rather than just the usual modern condemnation. Well read by the author

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Profile Image for Jean-sebastien Goyette
  • Jean-sebastien Goyette
  • 01-12-2011

Fantastic introduction to the British empire

This is an ideal book for anybody interested in understanding the rise and fall of the British empire. Although it covers centuries of history, it transitions from eras and countries very well and leaves us wanting to know more (but in a good way).

The author gives a great performance with gives it a sincere angle as we detect passion and even sarcasm in some sections.

I'm looking forward to reading other books from Niall Ferguson.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Koen
  • 19-09-2016

Disturbingly pro Empire

The author sounds disturbingly pro Empire: reminiscing its greatness, explaining away its atrocities with on-the-other-hand...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-02-2012

Ferguson should narrate all his books.

What made the experience of listening to Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order the most enjoyable?

I have seen the TV series and this is a nice recap. Although abridged from the book (was based on the series), it does provide some perspective for comparison of e British Empire with the alternatives, pointing out that

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The author-narrator's enthusiasm.

What about Niall Ferguson’s performance did you like?

His confidence in his work.

If you could give Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order a new subtitle, what would it be?

The original from the book: How Britain made the Modern World.

Any additional comments?

Superb.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jonathan KS
  • 05-10-2018

Straightforwad with no leftist fluff

If you're used to history books being tainted with anti western ideological statements, and historians that think they are novelists - well, here's an example of how history books should be - straightforward, factual and coherent.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. J. Fanning
  • 14-06-2012

Unexpected pleasure

Having seen Ferguson take centre stage in his tv documentaries I was unsure of enduring hours of his narration. This is a superb audio. It makes such a difference listening to an author tell his story. His enthusiasm is infectious and really drags you into the book. For a first time ever I have listened again to certain chapters in the audio book so interesting and enthusiastic is the author.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Douglas Mcgown
  • 04-07-2015

Too brief

More like the notes to a TV show. An excellent summary but more detail would be good.

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  • Nitram
  • 22-04-2016

Informative and engaging

Brilliantly knowledgable and balanced account of a controversial topic. Communicated with light hearted turns of phrase and tangible illustrations.

Helped me see a fuller picture of the British empire, and the incredible amount of good that came to the world through it, despite its faults. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonimo Nonlodico
  • 09-01-2016

Very superficial

Simple and rather shallow restatement of the basic facts. I was hoping for a deeper and more thorough analysis and ended up disappointed.

1 person found this helpful