An engrossing photo album of the British Empire at the turn of the century, when Queen Victoria's small island off the coast of Europe ruled nearly 100 colonies covering more than 11 million square miles--a quarter of the earth's land surface -- and containing nearly 400 million people. Photographs and paintings from collections around the world vividly portray the Empire's immensity (from gold rush camps in Canada and Christian missions in the West Indies to railroads across India and sheep ranches in New Zealand), its grandeur (vast fleets of commercial sailing ships and imposing colonial administration buildings and estates), and its squalor (suffering soldiers in countless colonial wars in the "far-flung" places celebrated by Kipling, plantation child labor "coolies" in Trinidad and Ceylon, scores of convicts on a treadmill in India). Jan Morris complements these haunting, handsomely mounted images with spare, wry prose describing the great psychological impact of the imperial adventure on the British and col Australia. The 19th-century British Empire, Morris concludes, "had cast its unmistakable effect around the whole world, feared and respected, loved and loathed, and properly represented by the rich splodges of red which, in the then popular Mercator projections, lay across the five continents liked spilled claret, or shed blood."