This is not intended as a full bibliography of the sources used for this book (the detail of these can be found in the endnotes that accompany each chapter) let alone of the whole range of materials consulted, or available to an interested reader. Indeed, the sources for the study of British world power over a period of a century and a half are virtually limitless. Some idea of their scale can be gained from a glance at A. Porter (ed.), Bibliography of Imperial, Colonial and Commonwealth History since 1600 (Oxford, 2002). This contains nearly 24,000 items, some of them running to dozens of volumes. A much shorter but very useful bibliography can be found in S. Stockwell (ed.), The British Empire: Themes and Problems (Oxford, 2008). J. Holland Rose, A. P. Newton and E. A. Benians (eds.), The Cambridge History of the British Empire, vol. 1 (1929) and vol. 2 (1940) both provide extensive bibliographies, including a guide to archival materials and parliamentary debates. What I have listed below are the main primary sources which I have used, a selection of the available printed sources, and a short list of what seem to me to be the most brilliant or insightful large views of the subject.

Unpublished primary sources

I made use of the following private papers collections. In the United Kingdom: Stanley Baldwin (Cambridge University Library), A. J. Balfour (British Library), Andrew Bonar Law (House of Lords Record Office), Robert Brand (Bodleian Library), Austen Chamberlain (Birmingham University Library), Viscount Chelmsford (British Library India and Oriental Collection), Arthur Creech Jones (Rhodes House Library, Oxford), Lionel Curtis (Bodleian Library), 1st Marquess Curzon (BLIOC), Geoffrey Dawson (Bodleian Library), Edward Grigg (Bodleian Library: microfilm), John Holt and Co. (Rhodes House Library, Oxford), Miles Lampson, later Lord Killearn (Middle East Centre, St Antony's College, Oxford), George Lloyd (Churchill College Archives, Cambridge), David Lloyd George (House of Lords Record Office),Viscount Milner (Bodleian Library), E. S. Montagu (Trinity College, Cambridge), Gerald Portal (Rhodes House Library, Oxford), C. J. Rhodes (Rhodes House Library, Oxford), Viscount Sankey (Bodleian Library), Earl Selborne (Bodleian Library) and John Simon (Bodleian Library).

In the Irish Republic: Donoughmore Mss (Trinity College, Dublin).

In Canada: John Buchan (Douglas Library, Queen's University Kingston), Henri Bourassa (National Archives of Canada), Robert Borden (NAC), Brooke Claxton (NAC), T. A. Crerar (Douglas Library, Queen's University), J. W. Dafoe (Elizabeth Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba), Wilfrid Laurier (NAC), Mackenzie King (NAC), Arthur Meighen (NAC), Charles G. Power (Douglas Library, Queen's University), Clifford Sifton (NAC) and Byron E. Walker (Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, University of Toronto).

In South Africa: Sir Patrick Duncan and H. G. Lawrence (both in Jagger Library, University of Cape Town), D. F. Malan (Stellenbosch University Library), Charles Crewe and Sir Edgar Walton (both in Cory Library, Rhodes University Library, Grahamstown) and J. P. Fitzpatrick (National English Literary Museum, Grahamstown).

In New Zealand: Sir James Allen (New Zealand National Archives) and J. G. Coates and Sir Alister McIntosh (both in Alexander Turnbull Library).

In the United States: J. L. Garvin (Harry Ransome Humanities Research Centre, University of Texas at Austin).

I have also made use of Official Records, principally Cabinet, Foreign Office and Colonial Office records in the National Archives at Kew, and Australian Cabinet records at the National Archives of Australia, Canberra.

Printed sources

There is a huge array of printed sources to be mined or quarried. Among those that I have found most valuable are:

G. P. Gooch and H. Temperley (eds.), British Documents on the Origins of the War 1898–1914, 12 vols. (1927–38).

E. L. Woodward, R. Butler, D. Dakin and M. Lambert (eds.), Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919–1939, Three Series (1946–86).

A. F. McMadden and D. K. Fieldhouse (eds.), Select Documents on the Constitutional History of the British Empire and Commonwealth, 8 vols. (1985–2000), especially vols. 5, 6, 7, 8.

P. N. S. Mansergh (ed.), Documents and Speeches on British Commonwealth Affairs 1931–1952, 2 vols. (1953).

P. N. S. Mansergh, E. W. Lumby and E. P. Moon (eds.), Constitutional Relations between Britain and India: The Transfer of Power, 1942–1947, 12 vols. (1970–83).

The British Documents on the End of Empire series includes both ‘general’ volumes and ‘country’ volumes. I have made particular use of:

R. Hyam (ed.), The Labour Government and the End of Empire 1945–1951, 4 vols. (1992).

D. J. Goldsworthy (ed.), The Conservative Government and the End of Empire 1951–1957, 3 vols. (1994).

R. Hyam and W. R. Louis (eds.), The Conservative Government and the End of Empire 1957–1964, 2 vols. (2000).

S. R. Ashton and W. R. Louis (eds.), East of Suez and the Commonwealth 1964–1971, 3 vols. (2004).

J. Kent (ed.), Egypt and the Defence of the Middle East, 3 vols. (1998).

P. Murphy (ed.), Central Africa, 2 vols. (2005).

D. R. Murray and J. F. Hilliker (eds.), Documents on Canadian External Relations (Ottawa, 1972–).

F. K. Crowley (ed.), Documents in Australian History (1973).

G. Greenwood and C. Grimshaw (eds.), Documents on Australian International Affairs 1901–1918 (West Melbourne, 1977).

N. Meaney (ed.), Australia and the World: A Documentary History from the 1870s to 1970s (Melbourne, 1985).

W. J. Hudson and W. Way (eds.), Australia and the Post-War World: Documents 1947 (Canberra, 1995).

I. McGibbon (ed.), Undiplomatic Dialogue: Letters between Carl Berendsen and Alister McIntosh 1943–1957 (Auckland, 1993).

C. Headlam, The Milner Papers: South Africa 1897–1905, 2 vols. (1931).

W. K. Hancock and J. Van Der Poel (eds.), Selections from the Smuts Papers, 7 vols. (Cambridge, 1966–73).

A. H. Duminy and W. R. Guest (eds.), Fitzpatrick, South African Politician: Selected Papers 1888–1906 (Johannesburg, 1976).

M. Fraser and A. Jeeves (eds.), All That Glittered: Selected Correspondence of Lionel Phillips, 1890–1924 (Cape Town, 1977).

M. E. Yapp (ed.), Politics and Diplomacy in Egypt: The Diaries of Sir Miles Lampson 1935–1937 (Oxford, 1997).

R. C. Palit (ed.), Speeches by Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea 1876–1880, vols. 1–5 (Calcutta, 1891–6).

Writings and Speeches of B. G. Tilak (Madras, 1919).

V. S. Srinavasa Sastri, Speeches and Writings (Madras, n.d.).

Congress Presidential Addresses, Second Series (Madras, 1934).

M. Hasan (ed.), Mohamed Ali in Indian Politics: Selected Writings, vol. II (New Delhi, 1987).

R. Kumar and H. D. Sharma (eds.), Selected Works of Motilal Nehru, 6 vols. (New Delhi, 1992–5).

S. Gopal (ed.), Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, First Series, 15 vols. (New Delhi, 1972–82).

The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, 100 vols. (New Delhi, 1964–).

Of the ever-increasing volume of material now available online, British Parliamentary Papers for the nineteenth and twentieth century, the Times Digital Archive, giving access to The Times since its first publication, The Mackenzie King Diaries, the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, the Australian Dictionary of Biography and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography were particularly useful.

Secondary works

The starting point for any serious study of the subject of this book is J. Gallagher and R. Robinson, ‘The Imperialism of Free Trade’, Economic History Review, New Series, 6, 1 (1953). The ideas and arguments found there repay almost constant re-reading. They were further developed in R. E. Robinson and J. Gallagher, Africa and the Victorians (1961), R. Robinson, ‘The Non-Imperial Foundations of European Imperialism: Sketch for a Theory of Collaboration’, in R. Owen and B. Sutcliffe (eds.), Studies in the Theory of Imperialism (1972) and J. Gallagher, The Decline, Revival and Fall of the British Empire (Cambridge, 1982). Their application to India was proposed in J. Gallagher, G. Johnson and A. Seal (eds.), Locality, Province and Nation (Cambridge, 1973). An essential contrast to their emphasis on the ‘official mind’ of the policy-makers can be found in P. Cain and A. G. Hopkins, British Imperialism: 1688–2000 (2nd edn, 2001). Here it is the financial power of the City of London which exerts a commanding influence over the pattern of British expansion. Although the extent to which ‘gentlemanly capitalism’ was the dominant ethos in both Whitehall and the City has been disputed, British Imperialism provides an essential corrective to narrowly political or diplomatic accounts of British world power, and to the view that its decline had set in by 1914. The role of the City can be followed in R. C. Michie, The City of London: Continuity and Change 1850–1990 (1992) and (with brio) in D. Kynaston, The City of London, 4 vols. (1994–2001). The most brilliant account of Britain's economic travails in the first half of the twentieth century is R. Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: A Biography, 3 vols. (1983–2000). K. H. O’Rourke and J. G. Willliamson, Globalisation and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy (1999), examines the growth of an Atlantic economy on its way to being global. The most elegant short survey of British sea-power remains G. Graham, The Politics of Naval Supremacy(Cambridge, 1965); on the broader subject of ‘imperial defence’, there is now G. Kennedy (ed.), Imperial Defence: The Old World Order 1856–1956 (2008). Much the best survey of the domestic impact of empire in Britain is A. S. Thompson, The Empire Strikes Back: The Impact of Imperialism on Britain from the Mid-Nineteenth Century (2005). One of the key themes of this book has been the neglected significance of the settlement colonies/‘white dominions’ for British world power, and the close identification of their ‘British’ populations with the fate of the British Empire. The revival of interest in the socio-cultural connections across this ‘British World’ can be followed in C. Bridge and K. Fedorowich (eds.), The British World: Diaspora, Culture and Identity (2003), and P. Buckner and R. D. Francis (eds.), Rediscovering the British World (Calgary, 2005). Two recent volumes in the Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series, namely, P. Buckner (ed.), Canada and the British Empire (Oxford, 2008) and D. Schreuder and S. Ward (eds.), Australia's Empire (Oxford, 2008), reflect this new orientation. James Belich's two-volume history, Making Peoples (1996) and Paradise Reforged (2001), pioneered the reinterpretation of New Zealand history as a process of ‘recolonisation’, in which the cultural, economic and strategic ties with Britain were progressively strengthened from the late nineteenth century. I have not found much space for an explicit discussion of imperial culture in this book, but the reader will find much of the material for a cultural history of empire in John MacKenzie's hugely successful series, Studies in Imperialism, now approaching its hundredth volume. I have attempted throughout to set the fortunes of British expansion in a global context. C. A. Bayly, Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World 1780–1830 (1988), offers a brilliant account of how this might be done for an earlier period, while his Birth of the Modern World 1780–1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (Oxford, 2004) is a panoramic interpretation of the long nineteenth century. In After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire (2007), I attempted to sketch the Eurasian conditions in which British and other European imperialisms rose and then fell.

Readers in search of an alternative panoptic view of the places and periods covered in this book should turn to the Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. III, The Nineteenth Century, ed. Andrew Porter (Oxford, 1999) and vol. IV, The Twentieth Century, ed. Judith Brown and W. R. Louis (Oxford, 1999), or to Piers Brendon, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire 1781–1997 (London, 2007).

You can support our site by clicking on this link and watching the advertisement.

If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at Thank you!