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Most writers (except, perhaps, the romantic novelists) approach their concluding passages with a heavy heart; it is as if a climber, clambering at last on to what he took to be a table-top peak, finds another flush-faced ridge rising startlingly above him. This weariness of spirit is felt particularly by historians of the liberal-eclectic sort who, unlike their more crystalline, ideologically inclined colleagues, have no patter of ready-made conclusions to send their readers away with the happy thought that all has finally been revealed. Indeed, any historian of decolonization must blanche at the thought of summarizing in a few, compact pages the vast array of human fates and fortunes encapsulated in that historical episode. No such brazenly ambitious task will be attempted here. Our postscript will simply delineate some of the themes which have marked this introductory study, and gloss upon their relevance for the contemporary world scene.
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