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The AustralianThis is a very big book on an enormous subject. For anybody who assumes imperial history is all about Britain, with some 19th-century European imitators on the side, it will be something of a shock. For Burbank and Cooper, imperial history is world history. The authors also make a point popular among academics who hate the idea of borders keeping the underprivileged out of rich nations, that empires can be confederations of different peoples united by an all-encompassing ideal. 'Sovereignty can be shared, layered and transformed,' they write. Whether or not you agree with the implications of this argument, the weeks it will take bedtime history buffs to get through this book will be time well spent.
— Stephen Matchett