The modern British Commonwealth, linking fifty countries around the world in voluntary association, cooperation, and consultation, is a unique body in world history. The area of its member countries covers a third of the globe and collectively their peoples represent a quarter of the world's total population. Though essentially different from the British Empire from which it originated, the Commonwealth shares many common historical ties with Britain. Patricia M. Larby and Harry Hannam have assembled an unrivaled body of literature to illustrate the growth of the Empire into the Commonwealth.
This extensive bibliography identifies, lists, and annotates the most important publications on the development and growth of the Commonwealth; its present status and functions; and its role in education, literature, sport, and the arts and sciences. It includes its historical origins: its cooperation in economics, politics, and international issues such as the environment; and its many spheres of professional activity including medicine, law, and architecture. Strong emphasis is placed on the role of the English language in the Commonwealth and as a medium for creative literature in many disparate cultures worldwide.
The Commonwealth appears at a time when this unique organization is on the threshold of a new era in its history. The proposals emerging from the 1991 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting include statements on democracy and human rights; environmental affairs; and global concerns such as international crime, drug abuse, and AIDS. No previous comprehensive bibliography of the Commonwealth exists, and this volume fills a long-standing gap in the bibliographical coverage. It will be an essential reference source for libraries and scholars involved in Commonwealth studies and will be of particular interest to historians, political scientists, economists, and educators.