Authors & Events
Gifts & Deals
Nov 13, 2012
| ISBN 9781844670673
Oct 01, 2011
| ISBN 9781844678921
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Nov 13, 2012 | ISBN 9781844670673
Oct 01, 2011 | ISBN 9781844678921
Contrary to nationalist legend and schoolboy history lessons, the British Empire was not a great civilizing power bringing light to the darker corners of the earth. Richard Gott’s magisterial work recounts the empire’s misdeeds from the beginning of the eighteenth century to the Indian Mutiny, spanning the red-patched imperial globe from Ireland to Australia, telling a story of almost continuous colonialist violence. Recounting events from the perspective of the colonized, Gott unearths the all-but-forgotten stories excluded from mainstream British histories.
This revelatory new history punctures the still widely held belief that the British Empire was an enlightened and civilizing enterprise of great benefit to its subject peoples. Instead, Britain’s Empire reveals a history of systemic repression and almost continual violence, showing how British rule was imposed as a military operation and maintained as a military dictatorship. For colonized peoples, the experience was a horrific one—of slavery, famine, battle and extermination.Yet, as Richard Gott illustrates, the empire’s oppressed peoples did not go gently into that good night. Wherever Britain tried to plant its flag, there was resistance. From Ireland to India, from the American colonies to Australia, Gott chronicles the backlash. He shows, too, how Britain provided a blueprint for the genocides of twentieth-century Europe, and argues that its past leaders must rank alongside the dictators of the twentieth century as the perpetrators of crimes against humanity on an infamous scale. In tracing this history of resistance, all but lost to modern memory, Richard Gott recovers these forgotten peoples and puts them where they deserve to be: at the heart of the story of Britain’s empire.
“Vivid and startling … Gott’s achievement is to show, as no historian has done before, that violence was a central, constant and ubiquitous part of the making and keeping of the British Empire.”—Richard Drayton, Guardian“His message is stark but Gott is never shrill. He writes as a scholar, not an accuser.”—Jonathan Steele, Red Pepper“A welcome, even necessary, corrective.”—Stephen Howe, Independent“Stimulating, inspirational and much needed.”—Dan Glazebrook, Morning Star“Pungent and provocative … a rich compendium of revolt.”—Gavin Bowd, Scotland on Sunday“A tour de force.”—History Today
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