A Fighting Retreat: The British Empire, 1947-1997

Robin Neillands
Hodder & Stoughton
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This is the story of what happened in the trouble spots of the British Empire, from the Partition of India in 1947, to 1997 when the Crown Colony of Hong Kong is handed back to the Chinese. Over those fifty turbulent years, the Empire has been transformed into a Commonwealth that numbers fifty-two independent nations. However, this transformation did not always take place quietly. Robin Neillands explores and explains how the Empire ended in places like Palestine at the end of the Mandate, in Malaya during the ten year Communist Emergency, in Aden, Cyprus, Borneo, the Canal Zone and Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising. Covering triumphs such as the South Atlantic campaign of 1982, as well as disasters like the Suez Crisis of 1956, Robin Neillands also looks at the continuing agony in Northern Ireland and has unearthed some controversial new material about the Falklands. Much of the tale is oral history; largely told in the words of the people who served in the old Empire, civil and military, who relate their experiences at first hand. There are fascinating accounts from the Parachute Regiment and the SAS, from the doughty Gurkhas and the Royal Marine Commandos, from planters and mine managers, wives and mothers.