Lord Cromer: Victorian Imperialist, Edwardian Proconsul

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9780199253388: Lord Cromer: Victorian Imperialist, Edwardian Proconsul

In the heyday of Empire just before the First World War, Lord Cromer was second only to Lord Curzon in fame and public esteem. In the days when Cairo and Calcutta represented the twin poles of British power in Asia and Africa, Cromer's commanding presence seemed to radiate the essential spirit of imperial rule. In this first modern biography Roger Owen charts the life of the man revered by the British and hated by the Egyptians, the real ruler of Egypt for nearly a quarter of a century.

A member of the famous City banking family of Baring Brothers, Cromer in his youth seemed set to be, if not the black sheep of the family, distinguished mainly by lack of academic ability and a taste for the fashionable pursuits of his day. His first military posting, to Corfu, was welcomed by him on account of the excellent shooting to be had in the region. Roger Owen shows how, almost imperceptibly, his commitment to public service grew, due in part at least to his relationship with Ethel Errington who, after long delay, became his first wife.

From the island outposts of the old British Empire, to India, the jewel in its crown, and finally to the new Empire in Africa, Cromer represented the might of Britain's Empire. Few imperial administrators had either his range of experience or his long practice of ruling different non-European peoples, at a time when the whole notion of Empire itself entered more and more into the metropolitan political debate.

Roger Owen makes extensive use of Cromer's official correspondence, family papers, memoirs, and the personal letters of his friends and colleagues to explore all aspects of Cromer's life in imperial government. He examines his innovative role in international finance and his energetic re-engagement with Britain's troubled political life following his formal retirement in 1907. Finally, he assesses the sometimes bitter legacy of imperial rule left by Cromer.

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Recensione:

Judicious and timely biography ... Owen does not need to apologise for the Proconsul. He successfully explains him and his actions in his subject's own terms—much as David Gilmour did in his biography of Lord Curzon, and that is praise indeed. ( Andrew Lycett, Literary Review)

Owen presents a man of liberal principles forced, like Tony Blair, to change his approach because of the demands of the job. He is good on the diplomatic connotations of Baring's policies and skilfully integrates the necessary economic detail into his text. ( Andrew Lycett, Literary Review)

The story of the way that Cromer imposed his will by constantly outmanoeuvring French investors, Cairo journalists, British Radical politicians, Egyptian premiers, gung-ho generals and Turkish suzerains makes this a fascinating read. ( Andrew Roberts, The Sunday Telegraph)

Owen's fine and scholarly book shows how in fact there was a delightful personality behind the proconsul who always looked as though he was modelling for his own statue. ( Andrew Roberts, The Sunday Telegraph)

This masterly biography, the first modern life of one of the most famous of British imperialists. Roger Owen is the first person to make extensive use of Cromer's notes and the archives in the Foreign office and in the India Office concerning his years of power.

Contenuti:

  • Part I: The Training of an Officer and a Gentleman
  • 1: A Norfolk Childhood 1841-1852
  • 2: A Military Education 1852-1859
  • 3: Garrison Life in Corfu 1858-1864
  • 4: Helping to Govern Malta but with Many Excursions 1864-1867
  • 5: Staff Officer and Military Reformer 1867-1872
  • Part II: An Apprenticeship in Imperial Government and International Finance: India and Egypt 1872-1883
  • 6: The Vice-Viceroy: India 1872-1876
  • 7: Marriage, the End of a Military Career, and off to the East Again 1876-1879
  • 8: Controlling Egypt's Finances 1879-1880
  • 9: Lord Ripon's Right-Hand Man in India 1880-1883
  • Part III: Governing Egypt 1883-1907
  • 10: Digging In: September 1883 to Summer 1885
  • 11: Surviving the Drummond Wolff Mission and the 'Race against Bankruptcy'
  • 12: Asserting British Control 1887-1891
  • 13: Cracking the Whip 1892-1895
  • 14: Sudan Again and the Tragedy of Ethel's Death 1895-1899
  • 15: Years of Economic Success 1900-1904
  • 16: Things Fall Apart 1904-1907
  • 17: Return to England 1907-1908
  • Part IV: Re-immersion in British Political Life 1908-1917
  • 18: An Active Retirement 1908-1914
  • 19: The World War, the Dardanelles Commission and Death 1914-1917
  • 20: Conclusion: A Life in Government
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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