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Headrick's book is a short, narrowly focused, academic, and somewhat dry study of the technologies (gunboats, quinine, breechloading weapons, and railways) which allowed Europeans to colonize and otherwise control large swathes of Asia and Africa in the 19th century, and is more likely to be read in a university library carrel than in a beach chair. I would not recommend it for the reader with a casual interest in the history of European imperialism. Instead check out the piles of more readable...more
Great book, many points on the impact of technology on colonialism that I had not seen before. Well worth the read, though there are probably more recent books that have built off and expanded these ideas. Lastly, sometimes the text took a slightly too pro-imperialism tone but that is not totally unexpected from a book written in the early 80s by a British scholar.
Okay, this book is about how the appearance of new technology in Europe sparked the age of "New Imperialism" in the East. I completely disagree with the author's thesis, but I give it 4 stars because it is well presented and because it is useful in detailing these impressive new technologies and their uses in Colonialism during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The standard text on the industrial tools with which Europe came to dominate the world. Cited in works as diverse as those of Chalmers Johnson, David Kennedy, and Niall Ferguson. The term 'gunboat diplomacy' probably wouldn't exist without this book.