Empire: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780192802231

Stephen Howe
160 Pages
112 x 178 mm
Pub date
Aug 2002
Very Short Introductions


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  • A lively introduction to the concept of 'empire', 'imperialism', and 'colonialism'
  • Examines imperialism's diverse and often bizarre afterlives in the contemporary world
  • Raises questions about whether globalization constitutes a new imperial system
  • Spans the history of empires, from ancient Rome to the modern British empires
  • Stephen Howe is an expert in this field

A great deal of the world's history is the history of empires. Indeed it could be said that allhistory is colonial history, if one takes a broad enough definition and goes far enough back. And although the great historic imperial systems, the land-based Russian one as well as the seaborne empires of western European powers, have collapsed during the past half century, their legacies shape almost every aspect of life on a global scale. Meanwhile there is fierce argument, and much speculation, about what has replaced the old territorial empires in world politics. Do the United States and its allies, transnational companies, financial and media institutions, or more broadly the forces of 'globalization', constitute a new imperial system? 
Stephen Howe interprets the meaning of the idea of 'empire' through the ages, disentangling the multiple uses and abuses of the labels 'empire', 'colonialism', etc., and examines the aftermath of imperialism on the contemporary world.


1: Who's an Imperialist?
2: Ancient Empire
3: Empire by Land
4: Empire by Sea
5: Death of the Seaborne Empires
6: Death of the Land Empires
7: Afterlives and Rebirths of Empire
8: Studying Empires: Prejudice and Progress, Cash and Culture

About the author: 

Stephen Howe is Tutor in Politics at Ruskin College, Oxford. He is the author of numerous books and articles, and regularly contributes to the New Statesman and Independent.

excellent. He has a wonderful grasp of the issues ... It is essential that such a book puts the modern history of imperialism into perspective, and he does this very well. - Megan Vaughan, Oxford University

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