In This Review

Imperialism in the Twentieth Century
Imperialism in the Twentieth Century
By A.P. Thornton
University of Minnesota Press, 1978, 363 pp
Imperialism: From the Colonial Age to the Present
Imperialism: From the Colonial Age to the Present
By Harry Magdoff
Monthly Review Press, 1978, 279 pp
Decolonialization: The British, French, Dutch and Belgian Empires, 1919-1963
Decolonialization: The British, French, Dutch and Belgian Empires, 1919-1963
By Henri Grimal
Westview Press, 1978, 443 pp

Rather than a history or a treatise, Thornton's book is an extended essay that reads like a conversation, pulling in facts from near and far to make a point, and telling brilliantly how the British and French came to have control over the destinies of other peoples and then lose it, and how the American imperialism of idealism and capitalism and that of the Russians then took over. Magdoff's volume covers much the same ground in time and space but from quite a different standpoint: that of a Marxist economist expanding Lenin's theory to fit the many new phenomena of the past half century. Though first published in French in 1965, the new English edition of Grimal's useful work, with a 1978 postscript, is worth mentioning here as it supplements the other two books. It is a work of broad scholarship and contains texts of key documents.