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Fight or Flight


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1: Imperial Zenith? The European Empires after World War I 2: Empires and the Challenge of Total War 3: Brave New World? Rebuilding Empire after World War II 4: Fiery Sunsets: Fighting Withdrawals in Asia, 1945-48 5: Troubled Roads: War and Revolution in Southeast Asia, 1948-57 6: Taking Centre Stage: Suez and Cold War Interventions in the Colonial World 7: Emergency! Paths to Confrontation in Black Africa 8: Keeping the Peace? 'Constructive Nationalism' below the Sahara 9: A Whisper or a Scream? Ending the British Empire 10: Open Wounds: Algeria's Settlers, Colonial Terror and War 11: New Dawn? The Legacies of Fight or Flight Notes Further Reading Index

About the Author

Martin Thomas is Professor of Imperial History in the Department of History at the University of Exeter, where he has taught since 2003. He founded the University's Centre for the Study of War, State and Society, which supports research into the impact of armed conflict on societies and communities. He is a past winner of a Philip Leverhulme prize for outstanding research and a holder of a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship. He has published widely on twentieth century French and imperial history, including The French Empire between the Wars: Imperialism, Politics and Society (2005), Empires of Intelligence: Security Services and Colonial Disorder after 1914 (2007, with L.J. Butler and Bob Moore), Crises of Empire: Decolonization and Europe's Imperial States, 1918-1975 (2008), and most recently Violence and Colonial Order: Police, Workers and Protest in the European Colonial Empires, 1918-1940 (2012).


A short review cannot do justice to the richness, the comprehensiveness, and the scholarly depth of Thomas's work, which will surely serve as a leading text in its area for many years. * War in History *
an impressively researched book which manages to marry breadth and nuance, and which ought to be read by scholars of war and imperialism alike. * Army Historical Research *
Martin Thomas tells this story in a book that is based in an impressive range of reading. He works hard to give a balanced account. * Richard Vinen, The Times Literary Supplement *
His book is a refreshing new take on the end of empire. * Mihir Bose, History Today *
Hugely impressive * Literary Review *
This is an ambitious book...Few historians these days have the ability to embark on such a wide-ranging comparative study. * Kwasi Kwarteng, The Times *
Thomas's account is comprehensive and well researched. * Kwasi Kwarteng, The Times *
[An] immensely impressive comparative study. * The Scotsman *
This is a skilfully crafted book which draws on material from British, French, and American archives ... It deserves, and will undoubtedly repay, careful study by anyone interested in the post-war histories of the two protagonists. It is an important book that raises big questions and tries to answer them, and we should be grateful that it does. * David French, Diplomacy & Statecraft *
[Thomas'] book rises above many others by providing a compelling and comprehensive account of European decolonization. There are few other works that match Fight or Flight in both scope and depth in a single-volume. It is this above all else that commends this book to a wide audience. * Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon, History *

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