Read Wars of Empire by Douglas Porch John Keegan Online


Often described as the high renaissance of Western imperialism, the nineteenth century was characterized by European conquest and colonial rule. Although imperialist power was on the rise, Douglas Porch refutes the notion that indigenous militias were easily overtaken by their European conquerors. Porch explores the rise of imperial power, and the reasons for the temporaryOften described as the high renaissance of Western imperialism, the nineteenth century was characterized by European conquest and colonial rule. Although imperialist power was on the rise, Douglas Porch refutes the notion that indigenous militias were easily overtaken by their European conquerors. Porch explores the rise of imperial power, and the reasons for the temporary supremacy of some of the empire builders, but he also examines why such far-flung empires ultimately proved to be unsustainable.A full exploration of the expansion and ultimate decline of imperial power, strain from conflict abroad, and the reality of the colonizers' struggling home economies. Full narration of the British army's defeats at the hands of American rebels, Afghan fighters, Indian mutineers, and the Boers. Analysis of Russia's humiliating defeat in the Caucasus, and France's defeat in Algeria, embarrassments that demonstrated the limitations of imperial power....

Title : Wars of Empire
Author :
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ISBN : 9780060851422
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Wars of Empire Reviews

  • Rindis
    2019-04-22 05:13

    Douglas Porch's book on imperialism and warfare is meant as an introductory book on the subject, but I don't think it serves that job very well. Organized around general subjects of how European vs non-European wars worked in the 18th and 19th Centuries is skips around too much for an unfamiliar reader to really get a good grasp of the events talked about.Now, not a lot of background is really needed, as long as the reader has some sense of the course of events already, the book will be very easy to follow. It does go into the why of those events quite well, and the book is an excellent 'next step' once some general background is known. Wars of Empire is a long thought-essay (though a short book) on how Europe came to control so much over those two centuries. He goes into such things as why so many indigenous peoples completely failed to resist Western Imperialism, despite having access to many of the same tools (especially in the 18th Century, while firearms were still relatively simple to operate and maintain). He points out how Imperial expansion was often politically unpopular, and often came only by the actions of commanders posted far away from home (it is a pity he didn't step outside his time frame to point out how the Japanese Army in Manchuria operated the same way). There's some important things talked about here, but not necessarily enough context. I'd also like to see a detailed study of some part of all this to demonstrate that events actually work the way he says, instead of just drawing general conclusions from general trends.Also, I have the Endeavour Press Kindle edition of the book, and it has suffered a bit. It's much cleaner than a lot of OCR translations I've seen, but there's still a few flubs (and about two cases where I could not figure out what the original word was), and a high number of dropped periods (which is not something I've seen before). What makes this especially surprising is that the original book was released in 2000, so I would have supposed electronic files would still exist, instead of needing to scan.

  • Checkman
    2019-05-08 06:00

    Part of the Cassell History of Warfare military history series originally published in the late nineties and early 21st century. Each book was written by a historian who was/is considered to be an expert in their respective field (WWI aviation, Napoleonic Wars, Thirty Years War, Roman Warfare, American Civil War etc.) and overseen by executive editor John Keegan. The books are loaded with illustrations and are intended to be surveys of the subject matter with some analysis thrown in. Intended for the layman and Freshman college student it seems. However I own several of the books and I enjoy them. Like most people there are areas of history that interest me more than others. For those interest I own dozens of books that provide in-depth coverage (WWII, WWI, Korean War, Roman Warfare, U.S. Civil War), but I don't necessarily want to buy heavy (and expensive) tomes on seventeenth century naval warfare or Bronze Age warfare when those topics are of mild interest for me only. I like Professor Porch's work. He focuses on French military history and the French colonial experience in Africa - with a slant towards the military aspect. As a result he was perfectly suited to write a book about the spread of the European Empires in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. "Wars of Empire" is a comprehensive look at the evolution of European Imperialism from the early days of commerce to governmental policy (a few campaigns and wars are covered, but just the hughlights due to the compactness of the book) and finally the end of the empires. The final chapter (written in 1999/2000) argues that imperialism is still around though now seen as humanitarian/nation-building/ counter-terrorist/peace-keeping operations. It is Professor Porch's contention that what is going on now isn't so much a product of a "new world order" but simply a resurrection of the "old world order" that was temporarily suspended by the Cold War. This is a organized and efficient little primer that is useful and informative.

  • Liam
    2019-05-14 01:52

    This review should be titled "Liam is a dumb-ass", because it's 7:10 am and I have to get up for work at 10, which is going to be damned difficult after staying up all night (again, damn it!) reading and screwing around online... This is a good book with excellent maps (though some of them contain apparent printing errors), and while it is by no means this author's best work it is still well worth reading. Now my zombie ass is going to sleep...[This is a review of the paperback edition, ISBN 0060851422.]

  • George
    2019-05-20 04:15

    An excellent book which dispells the myth of Western absolute superiority over indigenous African and Asian as well as American peoples without falling to the trap of overvaluing native resistance. Western nations were not all-powerfull, as imperialist mythology makes us believe but neither the natives were opponents of an equal power towards the developed nations of the West. I recommend the chapters on the small wars of the 19nth and early 20nth century mainly because there are the most well-known to us through cinema, memoirs and fiction. I enjoyed those chapters because they re-enacted in my mind images from films like "Khartoum", "Zulu Dawn", "Young Winston","L' Algerie des Chimeres","Lawrence of Arabia". The author though is not a sensationalist but a serious military scholar which treats battles not as propaganda exercises but with the eye of an expert. He is also incisive over the myth of the united native resistance to Europeans pointing out the many cleavages on the native front and the various complex alliances that tribes and peoples made with one European power against the other and the fact that until recently no cohesive ideology of resistance towards the Europeans or the Whites was existant, therefore one must not overstimate the force of nationalism as an analytical tool when evaluating pre-industrial non-european/U.S.A. social formations. On the other hand the author carefully analyzes the reception of the imperial venture in the countries it originated from. Even during it's peak in the 19nth and early 20nth century and in those most imperial of nations such as Britain and France, the imperial idea "White man's Burden" or "Mission Civilisatrice" "la plus grande France" had a rather limited audience and constituency.Empires were hardly profitable for the home nations therefore Lenin's economic explanation of imperialism is found wanting.This is a seminal observation to make and one that may have an application in today's conjecture. Marvellous pictures, diagrams and photographs accompany the text. A small masterpiece.

  • Andrea
    2019-04-24 01:55

    “Wars of Empire” by Douglas Porch is a compelling work explaining the roots and results of imperial warfare from a wider perspective. The topic of imperialism and warfare is stained with being a niche subject reserved for militaristic historians hopelessly unattractive to the average reader. Despite the reputation however, this book can be a great resource to a willing learner and careful reader. It does well with breaking down the topics and events, giving just enough storyline to understand the actions without overwhelming the reader with complex information. He manages to capture the reader's attention by explaining his purpose in the acknowledgments, and easing into the heavier points of the material making it a memorable and eye-opening piece of work. Porch clearly illustrates a more balanced perspective on empirical warfare tactics and their effects on indigenous peoples. He was very successful in making complex war strategies from centuries of foreign thinking accessible to his audience without clouding the scenarios with background explanations. What's more is that Porch seals comprehension holes with well illustrated maps and models throughout the book. Because so much information has been packed into little over 220 pages of text, it impossible to absorb much of the detail in just one go. This book is best for readers equipped with knowledge of world events from the pre-industrial era, otherwise it may become easy to get lost. Even so, this is a book that should be read more than once, especially for those relatively new to the subject.

  • Erik
    2019-04-29 23:09

    The Wars of Empire is a good little history concerning the fine line between nationalism and imperialism. Porch's eclectic choice of examples included national conflicts from all over the world; which is a great relief from normal western-focused historians.The motives and reasons for imperialism were of great reason of consideration. It seemed, in many cases, that imperialism was only a natural course of nationalism. But as time and examples marched on, so did the understanding of how some nations were able to successfully imperialize and how some were not.The cause for the success and failure of an imperial endeavor was amazingly revealed thwarting many of the obvious first choices one might guess. Dedication, passion, unity and cohesion were found to be the greatest factors which lead to successful conflicts. It’s well documented, has many great examples of war, and has terrific insights of national perspective and goals.

  • Matthew
    2019-04-21 22:17

    This book is a superb overview of the Age of Imperialism from the beginning with Spanish & Portuguese expansion to find spice routes that did not run through chaotic Central Asia to the conclusion with the Treaty of Versailles-end of empires. The book is notable for bringing together Old and New World Imperialism, thus presenting American topics often only found in isolated coverage in the larger context of World History. The conclusion of the book showing that post-Cold War peacekeeping missions of London, Paris, Washington, and sometimes the UN are not very different from the 1800’s missions of the imperialists of London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, and Washington is also stimulating. This book, for not only its text but also for its splendid maps, is a great on-the-desk reference.

  • John Robertson
    2019-05-05 05:09

    Douglas Porch knows his stuff, however this is not a primer for the period, in difference to many other books in this series, it is much more involved than that, an appreciation of the period is necessary to get the most from the book, it is an analysis of the political, social and military aspects of the Wars of Empire, and although it is essentially chronological the chapters jump around from theater to theater, so unless you know the various conflicts in question it may be hard to follow in places. It is a very insightful piece of work however and highly recommended. I have already looked out other books by the author.

  • Andrew Parnell
    2019-05-18 02:02

    This author suggests that empires were a strain on imperial nations, I found that a little hard to swallow, considering that the East India company controlled at it's height over half the worlds trade. Which if the British didn't control some other empire would have. Personally I was hoping more for a "Where", "how" and "why" type book, not just a "how"

  • Geoff Sebesta
    2019-05-03 23:03

    Reasonably informative, but sorta light. Lots and lots of illustrations, most of which were good and illustrative. Interesting insights into an underreported but crucial corner of history.

  • Frank Kelly
    2019-04-20 22:48

    Excellent resource book on the rise and fall of the British Empire via their once mightly military. Enjoyed it quite a bit.