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This book is a comparative study of decolonization from before the Second World War to the early 1960s. It focuses on the process and impact of decolonization at the level of the 'late colonial state' and of colonial societies, with reference to a number of key cases across the European colonial empires.
The book presents an original model of decolonization which seeks to reconcile imperial and nationalist perspectives, and engages with important theoretical approaches. Major themes include: the development of the colonial state: the emergence of nationalist movements and alternatives to nationalism in colonial societies: colonial reformism and anti-colonial politics after 1945: wars and emergencies: the impact of decolonization on metropolitan society and politics: and the 'endgame' of decolonization. While decolonization is often seen as 'inevitable', the emphasis throughout the book is on decolonization as an essentially violent crisis, the resolution of which had many unintended outcomes, not only for the colonial powers but also for post-colonial regimes and societies.