Penguin presents the unabridged audiobook edition of Empire by Niall Ferguson, read by Jonathan Keeble.
Once vast swathes of the globe were coloured imperial red and Britannia ruled not just the waves, but the prairies of America, the plains of Asia, the jungles of Africa and the deserts of Arabia. Just how did a small, rainy island in the North Atlantic achieve all this? And why did the empire on which the sun literally never set finally decline and fall? Niall Ferguson's acclaimed Empire brilliantly unfolds the imperial story in all its splendours and its miseries, showing how a gang of buccaneers and gold-diggers planted the seed of the biggest empire in all history - and set the world on the road to modernity.
'The most brilliant British historian of his generation ... Ferguson examines the roles of "pirates, planters, missionaries, mandarins, bankers and bankrupts" in the creation of history's largest empire ... he writes with splendid panache ... and a seemingly effortless, debonair wit' Andrew Roberts
'Dazzling ... wonderfully readable' New York Review of Books
'A remarkably readable précis of the whole British imperial story - triumphs, deceits, decencies, kindnesses, cruelties and all' Jan Morris
'Empire is a pleasure to read and brims with insights and intelligence' Sunday Times
A Perfect Example of its Genre
As an English born fan of history, this was my first encounter with Niall Ferguson in audiobook form and, I have to say, it was one of the most enjoyable audiobooks I’ve heard. Fascinating in its sweep and depth, without ever getting too laboured or bogged down in detail, Ferguson strikes the perfect balance between informative dissertation and compelling anecdotes.
As ever, so much depends upon the quality of the narrator. And, Johnathan Keeble has the perfect mix of actorly characterisation with a dash of radio presenter’s diction and gravitas, lending the whole thing an air of, “cannon,” telling the listener that they’re learning whilst being entertained.
For history buffs, especially, but anyone with an interest in world affairs, more generally. And, even if you’re neither of these things, it’s well worth a listen. Flawless, in my view