Year of edition:2023
Krishan Kumar offers a journey that spans millennia of history through the world’s greatest empires, and does so with his trademark rigour, precision and erudition, in a language accessible to students and readers interested in the political issues that They traverse our present.
Empire has been the most common form of political organization for most of our history, but the lines that define it have become increasingly blurred. What exactly do we mean by “empires”? What kind of relations between rulers and ruled do they entail? Does everyone follow that particular boom-bust-bust dynamic? How and why do they end, and what are the consequences of their end? And, above all, is the age of empires over?
Krishan Kumar answers all these questions through a fascinating analysis of the world’s greatest empires from the dawn of history to today. He proposes that “empire” is a formal ideal that has acted as a model for the formation of authority and political structures in different corners of the planet. And, far from underestimating their power, he shows that they have in fact been much more stable than we have hitherto believed. Delving not only into modern European overseas empires, but also ancient Middle Eastern and Mediterranean empires, Islamic, Mughal and Ottoman empires, and the 2000-year-old Chinese empire, Kumar shows that knowing empires and their legacy helps to better understand the politics of our own time.
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