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Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress - Pax Britannica, Volume 1 | [Jan Morris]

Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress - Pax Britannica, Volume 1

The Pax Britannica trilogy is Jan Morris’s epic story of the British Empire from the accession of Queen Victoria to the death of Winston Churchill. It is a towering achievement: informative, accessible, entertaining and written with all her usual bravura. Heaven’s Command, the first volume, takes us from the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1837 to the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The story moves effortlessly across the world, from the English shores to Fiji, Zululand, the Canadian prairies and beyond.
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Publisher's Summary

The Pax Britannica trilogy is Jan Morris’s epic story of the British Empire from the accession of Queen Victoria to the death of Winston Churchill. It is a towering achievement: informative, accessible, entertaining and written with all her usual bravura. Heaven’s Command, the first volume, takes us from the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1837 to the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The story moves effortlessly across the world, from the English shores to Fiji, Zululand, the Canadian prairies and beyond. Totally gripping history!

Listen to Pax Britannica: The Climax of an Empire - Pax Britannica, Volume 2.
Download the accompanying reference guide.

©1973 A P Watt Limited (P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (192 )
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4.2 (154 )
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4.3 (156 )
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Performance
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  •  
    HIII 03-16-13
    HIII 03-16-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "encompassing"

    If not for the antidotes and footnotes this book would of been dry as toast! Spanning 60 years, Ms Morris has set herself a giant task to explain the British Empire during Queen Victoria's rule. I believe Ms Morris has done a good job. Roy McMillan is outstanding. This is not a book I feel compelled to recommend because of its length and subject matter, but if the basic description makes the book sound interesting then it probably is a fit for you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous Wheat Ridge, CO, United States 03-06-13
    Anonymous Wheat Ridge, CO, United States 03-06-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Know what you are getting into.."

    This is not an accessible book for Americans (at least after the first couple chapters). There are too many descriptions of architecture in far flung parts of the British empire and lots of references to notable families and people (most of whom I have never heard of).

    That being said, many chapters provide compelling overviews of the British empire or exciting stories of sieges and wars. And all the chapters are very well written and the narrator is excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil Chisholm Buninyong, Australia 02-24-13
    Neil Chisholm Buninyong, Australia 02-24-13 Member Since 2011

    "fabric artist and quilter"

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A trilogy filled with history, wit and information"

    Being an Englishman by birth the Empire was in my blood. My greatAunt's brother in law was something big in the Indian Raj, my GreatUncle mapped the Red Sea, my Grandfathers both fought in it and my parents mourned its passing as though it were a personal loss to the family.

    These three books were filled with fabulous information about all the possessions that made up the empire but particularly about India. I found it all totally fascinating. It was often unbelievable stuff, a country tamed by a courageous individual, daring dos by heros straight out of comic books (or an asylum!) or battles won at tremendous cost either to the English or the natives.

    There was great humour and terrible sadness and all read by Roy McMillan who did a superlative job at narrating it with perfect accents for all the different quotes by great statesmen or colonialists or dominion politicians. Kipling got a good look in as did Churchill and Jan Morris marked the end of the Empire by Churchill's death - he was the last of the true imperialists. Jan Morris visited many of the countries he wrote about and it came across as a personal view of the Empire which made it all the more vivid.

    I loved these books and can not but recommend them most enthusiastically for all history buffs. I know that I will be back to listen to it all again at some stage and as it is some 80 hrs long you don't do that unless you really really enjoyed it!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Henderson 06-13-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "She Never Tells You What to Think..."

    ... But she does a fine job of telling you what they thought.

    This history of the British Empire is especially strong on the motivations for empire, from ridding the world of slavery (honorable enough) to spreading the word of God (not everyone shared this impulse, of course) to making money to escaping class to eventually simply defending what the forebears had built.

    And Morris' language is so lovely! I want to listen to the whole thing again, just to hear some of those stunning sentences once more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    djbrocc Ellicott City, Maryland United States 01-08-15
    djbrocc Ellicott City, Maryland United States 01-08-15 Member Since 2006

    djbroc

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    Story
    "History at its best"

    I LOVE this book. Already downloaded volume 2 and fully expect to order volume 3.
    If all history was written this well, we would all be better off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanne 11-30-13
    Jeanne 11-30-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
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    "Surprised Me When I Enjoyed This Book So Much!"
    What did you love best about Heaven's Command?

    Informative without being tedious. Covers a lot of territory in an easily understandable way. Felt like I got an excellent, overall view of the time period. Can be doing something else and still get a lot out of this. Easier to understand than I would have imagined.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How it focused on one area of the world at a time and then another area. And then draws it all together. One gets a real feel of what was going simultaneously in the world.


    What does Roy McMillan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Intonations and paragraph breaks excellent. Inclusion of footnotes was seamless and very helpful and informative.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, cause I wouldn't have had the time. Glad I listened to it a little each day so I could assimilate it.


    Any additional comments?

    If one wants to get a very interesting sense of this period in British history, I'd recommend this book. I wanted to learn about the subject and this book provided just what I was looking for. I thought it might be a tedious read and maybe I wouldn't even finish it. But I found it absolutely fascinating and can't wait to listen to the next two parts of the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cheribob chicago 04-03-13
    cheribob chicago 04-03-13 Member Since 2015

    cheribob

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "wonderful history book"
    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed this book. It gave a good overview of the beginning of the British Empire. I especially enjoyed the section on Sir Richard Burton & John Speke's search for the source of the Nike & Stanley's search for Dr Livingston. I also enjoyed the history of the Transvaal. The amazing story of Elphinstone's British army being massacured outside Kabul. Civilazations that don't know history are condemned to repeat it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john Battery Point, Australia 02-21-13
    john Battery Point, Australia 02-21-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nothing is ever as simple as it seems"

    An interesting review of how Britain obtained and then shed an empire and just how it all happened without a concerted plan or a real overall strategy. Not quite an "Accidental Empire" but neither a thought through plan to dominate the people of the countries they added to the collection. Worth every minute and dollar to learn interesting facts and to remember that it often takes a long time for the sense (or lack thereof) of a decision to become clear.

    Production values in the audio is of the normal Audbile high standard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Dunn Vancouver, BC Canada 08-07-12
    Andrew Dunn Vancouver, BC Canada 08-07-12 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A little outdated now, but enjoyable nonetheless"
    If you could sum up Heaven's Command in three words, what would they be?

    Witty, knowledgable, dated


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way Jan Morris manages to thematically describe the British Empire without it seeming as if she has shoe-horned events to fit her thesis, that the Empire changed, in purpose and intent, during the long reign of Victoria.


    What does Roy McMillan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He reads well. I quibble with some of the pronunciation (''Métis" is pronounced 'may-tee', not 'metiss'), but he does well with the text, including the copious footnotes.


    Any additional comments?

    The book was written in the 60s and early 70s, and the attitudes and language used perhaps reflects that, but Jan Morris was and is an expert writer, and her wit and wisdom make the occasional unreconstructed imperialist tone forgivable

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda United States 01-18-12
    Amanda United States 01-18-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Wait!!! Where is Queen Victoria???"

    I expected to read about Queen Victoria....what I got was a long, dry and amazingly detailed account of each and every battle during her reign. Her name might have been mentioned three times.

    I gave up - at Chapter 25, it became clear that the Queen was not the focus of the book. Lesson learned...never EVER judge a book by its cover!!!

    Expensive lesson.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
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  • Amazon Customer
    8/31/11
    Overall
    "Very entertaining"

    An enjoyable voyage through the history of empire building, jumping from country to country with enough detail to get a good understanding without getting bogged down in it. The book probably does pick and choose the most sensational parts of the imperial progress, but often this whets the appetite to read more on a particular subject that by necessity the author could only recount at a fairly high level. The book is not only about the battles of empire, but includes fascinating sections, for example, on the great explorers

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. P. A. Gower
    Altrincham, Cheshire United Kingdom
    7/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Atmospheric history"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Heaven's Command to be better than the print version?

    Have not read the print version


    Have you listened to any of Roy McMillan’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    The narrators' sparse use of accents was used to good effect and it was nice for a change to hear a British rather than an American accent in an audible book!


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I thought the chapter on the demise of the aboriginal Tasmanians was very poigneint.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • JONAH8208
    St Martins, United Kingdom
    11/21/12
    Overall
    "Very Long and Fascinating"

    This review is for all three large volumes of Mr Morris's brilliant and exhaustive work tracing the rise and fall of the British Empire in exquisite detail. From the grand sweep of history to the obscure backwoods incidents and the always fascinating explanations of all sorts of things and "facts" that we take for granted today which it turns out did not happen in the way traditional history would have us believe.



    Another amazing part of the book is as it was written in the 1960s there isno PC rubbish or mincing of words to avoid notional offense given to any race or religion, all are treated equally and their stories told in all the gory details good or bad - this is certainly not a glorious whitewash of the Empire's history it is honest and frank in every way possibe.



    The most unusual thing for me are the Irish sections which in mostly tends to be glossed over in the UK and still is today, this however was a relevation to me on the course and history of the "Irish Troubles".



    The whole thing is a must for anybody interested in World History, I doubt I could have sat and read the books but on Audio they are brilliant.



    Jonah

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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