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Book reviews for "Lapping,_Brian" sorted by average review score:

End of Empire
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Press (1985)
Author: Brian Lapping
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tendentious and often simply wrong
I realize that this book is a companion to an English TV documentary, but in his intro Lapping claims that they can be treated apart from one another. I think it feels half-complete. It has lots of good pictures and diagrams (its best features) but most of the information (the history, logic of argument, etc.) hardly distinguishes it from any history textbook. One of the reasons I bought it was it included several specific areas I was most interested in and had found less information on, but the discussion still mangaged to cover old ground. Its routiness is hardly the most distressing thing, however. Lapping (who obviously did not write the jacket cover -- which gives a different impression) has an anti-colonial bias he allows to color his judgments. No one will argue that colonialism was a untarnished blessing, but Lapping is at pains to point out old cliches about imperial brutality. The British can never be the good guys in his world; even the pluses were accidental or really the natives' ideas. He even manages to suggest criticism when he says that the Europeans could no longer commit massacres to maintain their hold on subject peoples. He seems to think that it is an imperial hypocrisy not to do so, rather than the Europeans living up (finally) to their own ideals. They can't win. The only people who should refer to Churchill as a "villain" are the fascists; the fact WSC opposed Indian independence, for instance, doesn't give him horns and cloven hooves, but makes him a realist about how ready the sub-continent was for freedom. While I'm here, Lapping -- in his not infrequent fits of exaggeration -- makes claims that are simply untrue; before the Mau Mau the British never engaged in wide-scale repression in Kenya, as an example. If you are looking to make your shelf on the British Empire exhaustive, then buy this (used), but there are better books out there.

The Author's Opinions Shine Through
This book is on a fascinating subject, but the author seems to have written it to make an anti-Western political statement. At the end, he argues that the British possession of the Falkland Islands is just like the British rule over India or Egypt. This falls flat. The Falkands are inhabited by British people who want to be part of Britain. The islands were never part of Argentina. Why does he argue against British imperialism only to argue for Argentine imperialism?

Apartheid : a history
Published in Unknown Binding by Grafton Books ()
Author: Brian Lapping
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