THE GREAT DEMOCRACIES
A History Of The English-speaking Peoples, Volume Iv
A tremendous achievement, this four volume history of the countries that comprise the English speaking peoples of the globe. And this, the final volume, must in many ways have been the most difficult of all to write, for here, compressed into less than 400 pages, is a century which saw the British Empire come to fulfillment; the United States emerge from colonialism into a nation forged by fire; India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand round out a pattern, two through successive uprisings, "minor" wars, seething unrest, the other two from raw frontiers, dumps for the scum of streets and prisons, into self- sufficient areas with vast undeveloped wealth and progress before them. And Canada-from the Maritime Provinces whence came lumber for the mother country's navy, to British Columbia, with immense untouched wilderness in between - begins to take shape as an entity capable of expansion and cohesion and a pride of identity. The scope of the volume precludes its providing the sense of intimate drama and human interest to the extent of the earlier books. But the grasp of the sense of history in the building, of the English speaking peoples encompassing the globe, of the warp and woof in the texture of drive, imagination, persistence, dogged courage that went into this achievement have enormous drama of their own. One on the outside, racing through these vivid pages, may well find critical judgment in abeyance. For here indeed is the man who did not become the king's first minister to preside over the dismemberment of the empire, telling in his inimitable way the story of that empire. That politics and man's venality, that violence and inhumanity and greed, all went into that building is implicit, not glossed over. But that a great conception of a goal, an ideal was a part of the plan- this too comes through and gives any English speaking reader a sense of shared achievement in the record. This rounds out a great work, but stands firmly on its own.