Possessing the World: Taking the Measurements of Colonisation from the 18th to the 20th Century | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Possessing the World: Taking the Measurements of Colonisation from the 18th to the 20th Century

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Volume 6

European Expansion & Global Interaction

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Possessing the World

Taking the Measurements of Colonisation from the 18th to the 20th Century

Bouda Etemad
Translated from the French by Andrene Everson

262 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-338-1 $135.00/£99.00 / hb / Published (July 2007)

View CartYour country: - edit Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Etemad’s work is refreshing…Controversial and difficult as [it] may be, his approach and efforts at working cautiously through available data to propose findings that make imperative the rethinking of a historiography is reason enough to make this book a valuable addition to the comparative studies of colonialism and world history.”   ·  Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

“Since the publication of [the French edition], Bouda Etémad’s book has remained an insider tip…The English version, one can only hope, will awake it from its slumber…Etémad’s greatest achievement lies in his attempt to prove colonial military history with figures….The human costs of invasion and colonization…can be discussed more comprensively on the basis of this book.”   ·  Historische Zeitschrift

“…historians will be grateful for the hard work that Etémad has done….Some books are made to be read. This one is meant to be consulted, judiciously, by historians seeking specific statistical information. As such, it is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the European colonial empires.”  ·  Journal of World History

“…this book represents a valiant attempt to bring quantitative methodology to a statistically slippery and emotively complex subject, and serves as a very useful corrective to technological determinism in explaining European colonialism.”  ·  H-Net Reviews


Based on an impressive body of information and data, this volume recounts the history of five continents over a long stretch of time and in a comparative approach. From the beginning of European expansion the question was posed: what were the "empire tools" that gave Europe its military superiority, even before the industrial revolution? What was it that enabled Europeans to withstand life-threatening tropical diseases and to control indigenous populations? This book gives a fresh and wide-ranging view of the construction and collapse of the modern colonial empires of Europe, the United States of America and Japan.

Bouda Etemad is Professor of History at the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne, and the author of De l’utilité des empires. Colonisation et prospérité de l’Europe, XVIIIe-XXe siècle (Armand Colin 2005).

Subject: Colonial HistoryHistory: Medieval/Early ModernRefugee and Migration Studies
Area: EuropeNorth America


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