Australia and Empire
The recent Australia Day verses Invasion Day dispute made me recall yet again the late, sometimes lamented, British Empire.
Because, after all, the Empire was the genesis of Australia Day.
For a brief history of that institution I can recommend Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World by Scottish historian Niall Campbell Ferguson.
My choice of this book was serendipitous, unless I was subconsciously aware that Australia Day was approaching. I was cutting through our local bookshop on my way to catch a bus and wanted something to read. I noticed this thick tomb, a new addition to the $10 Penguin Books (actually $13).
On the bus I began to read and very soon I was hooked when I discovered references to places I'd been and written of myself. Several of these 'potted histories' can be found in my various travel writings on this website (follow the links): India and the Raj; Malaya; Burma (Myanmar); Hong Kong; China; Taiwan; Egypt and the Middle East; Israel; and Europe (a number).
Over the next ten days I made time to read the remainder of the book, finishing it on the morning of Australia Day, January the 26th, with a sense that Ferguson's Empire had been more about the sub-continent than the Empire I remembered.
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