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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

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4.2 (176 )
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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
  •  
    William Wheat Ridge, CO, United States 03-06-13
    William Wheat Ridge, CO, United States 03-06-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    Story
    "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
  •  
    Jeanne 11-30-13
    Jeanne 11-30-13
    ratings
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    10
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    Story
    "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 2012

    cheribob

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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 2011
    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 Member 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
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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
  •  
    Steven Fleming Island, FL, United States 02-01-14
    Steven Fleming Island, FL, United States 02-01-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring"

    I was quickly bored of this book, for some it may be enjoyable, but for me not so.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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