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Prior to the outbreak of World War II, the British presided over the largest Empire in world history, a vast transoceanic and transcontinental realm of dominions, colonies, protectorates and mandates that covered over one-quarter of the world’s land mass and comprised a population of over 450-million subjects. Spanning Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania, over fifty modern nations—currently recognized by the International Olympic Committee—were governed and controlled by the British crown at some stage prior to the gradual dissolution of the Empire. The British World and the Five Rings seeks to explore the relationship between the former British Empire and the Olympic Movement. It pays due regard to the settler dominions, but it also addresses those territories who were less willing partners in the British imperial project. In doing so, the tendency of so-called ‘British World’ histories to promote an apologia for Empire is rejected in favour of a critical approach to imperialism.
Combining thorough research with engaging and accessible writing, The British World and the Five Rings is applicable to many fields of Olympic scholarship making it a central work in the growing field of sports studies.
This book was published as a special issue of Sport in Society.