David Gilmour

For Better, For Worse

Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain


Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 478pp £25 order from our bookshop

The British Empire was spread over six continents, seven seas and three centuries, during which its focus shifted from the Atlantic to Asia and then to Africa. At its zenith it covered more than 12 million square miles, of which Great Britain itself formed less than 1 per cent. During the nineteenth century it was expanding at an astonishing annual average of 100,000 square miles – 270 miles a day or an area the size of Hyde Park every five minutes.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,