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"Books on Victorian British foreign policy?" Topic

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redcoat19 May 2012 3:16 a.m. PST

Hi all,

Might anyone please suggest good reading recommendations for Victorian British foreign policy?

The request originated with a colleague of mine who wants to buy a book or two for her hubby. She was unclear whether she meant books with a primarily political or military focus, so either would do.

Thanks in advance for any recommendations,


Jamesonsafari Inactive Member19 May 2012 3:33 a.m. PST

That's a huge topic since policy shifted from the 'forward' to 'cautious' with changes in PM.

This might be a good place to start: link

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP19 May 2012 3:46 a.m. PST

The Crimean War by Orlando Figges does a good job of covering British foreign policy during the period before and during the 1850s.

Personal logo Aladdin Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member19 May 2012 9:04 a.m. PST

Queen Victoria's Little Wars, Byron Farwell, ISBN 0393302350. Good overview of all the conflicts Britain undertook under Victoria. Includes some commentary on the politics behind the campaigns.

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2012 10:28 a.m. PST

Robert Massie's Dreadnought is an eminently readable, entertaining survey of the intertwined foreign policies of Britain and Germany, and the concomitant interfamilial relationships among their imperial/royal families. Massie covers the late Victorian & Edwardian periods.


alan lockhart Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2012 2:24 a.m. PST

I studied 19th c British foreign policy as part of my "A" Level exams (only UK readers will know about these) almost 40 years ago.

One of the typical exam topics was: "Palmerston: a coward to the strong, a bully to the weak: discuss".

Could foreign policy be also summarised in three words: "Send a gunboat"?

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