Daily Archives: September 17, 2022

Andrew J. Bacevich | American Exceptionalism

Sep 17, 2022

Andrew J. Bacevich Jr. is an American historian specializing in international relations, security studies, American foreign policy, and American diplomatic and military history. He is a Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at the Boston University Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies. He is also a retired career officer in the Armor Branch of the United States Army, retiring with the rank of colonel. He is a former director of Boston University’s Center for International Relations (from 1998 to 2005), now part of the Pardee School of Global Studies. Bacevich is the co-founder and president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

Bacevich has been “a persistent, vocal critic of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, calling the conflict a catastrophic failure.” In March 2007, he described George W. Bush’s endorsement of such “preventive wars” as “immoral, illicit, and imprudent.” His son, Andrew John Bacevich, also an Army officer, died fighting in the Iraq War in May 2007.

What scientists are learning from the James Webb Space Telescope’s images

Sep 17, 2022

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launched last Christmas and released its first image in July, providing the deepest and sharpest view we’ve ever seen of the universe. Since then, it has captured faraway star nurseries, cosmic cliffs and galactic clusters. PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O’Brien joins Geoff Bennett to discuss what these images can tell us.

Imperialism and the Developing World: How Britain and the United States Shaped the Global Periphery: Atul Kohli

How did Western imperialism shape the developing world? Atul Kohli tackles that question by analyzing British and American influence on Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America from the age of the British East India Company to the most recent U.S. war in Iraq.

How did Western imperialism shape the developing world? In Imperialism and the Developing World, Atul Kohli tackles this question by analyzing British and American influence on Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America from the age of the British East India Company to the most recent U.S. war in Iraq. He argues that both Britain and the U.S. expanded to enhance their national economic prosperity, and shows how Anglo-American expansionism hurt economic development in poor parts of the world.

To clarify the causes and consequences of modern imperialism, Kohli first explains that there are two kinds of empires and analyzes the dynamics of both. Imperialism can refer to a formal, colonial empire such as Britain in the 19th century or an informal empire, wielding significant influence but not territorial control, such as the U.S. in the 20th century. Kohli contends that both have repeatedly undermined the prospects of steady economic progress in the global periphery, though to different degrees.

Time and again, the pursuit of their own national economic prosperity led Britain and the U.S. to expand into peripheral areas of the world. Limiting the sovereignty of other states-and poor and weak states on the periphery in particular-was the main method of imperialism. For the British and American empires, this tactic ensured that peripheral economies would stay open and accessible to Anglo-American economic interests. Loss of sovereignty, however, greatly hurt the life chances of people living in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. As Kohli lays bare, sovereignty is an economic asset; it is a precondition for the emergence of states that can foster prosperous and inclusive industrial societies.


“There is much to love about Imperialism and the Developing World. It is extensive, it is provocative, and it provides a great template for historically informed scholarship that is also relevant to contemporary political issues . . . a remarkably ambitious book that will be relevant to a multidisciplinary constituency of readers for years to come.” — Andrew S. Rosenberg, Perspectives on Politics
“Imperialism and the Developing World is a creative and readable approach to the history of British and American imperialism …. [It] powerfully advances the concept of informal empire and demonstrates the significance of sovereignty in economic histories of imperialism.” — Siddharth Sridhar, Left History

“[T]his is a good book, well written and reflects the labours of first class research and handling of sources.” — Gabriel O. Apata, Theory, Culture and Society
“An immersive account of the history of imperialism for those seeking a refined and concise introduction to the empirical literature … students of history and international relations will derive useful insights from the book, which can be used to initiate fruitful class discussions for graduate courses on this topic.” — Efe Can Gürcan, Progress in Development Studies

“Kohli’s new book marks an invaluable contribution to the studies of development in the non-Western world. The study sharpens our understanding of the political association between imperialism and underdevelopment by identifying the deterrence of the rise of a sovereign state as a key causal process.” — Makio Yamada, Japanese Journal of Political Science

“an ambitious analysis of the imperialistic adventures of Great Britain and the United States across some 400 years … Kohli’s analysis is based on an enormous trove of historical sources, and frequently illustrated with striking quotes from contemporary actors and observers. … [His] This Weberian framing … may be the book’s most important and enduring contribution. It is powerful enough to account for themes echoing across four centuries and two different imperial powers … . It is an articulate opening salvo in what is bound to be a productive scholarly conversation.” — Sarah Babb, The Journal of Development Studies
“Kohli’s new work is as important, equally engaging, and as much thoroughly researched as the first ‘volume’. It answers three key questions: first, why do imperialists imperialise? Second, how do they do that? And, third, with what consequences on both the metropole and the imperialised country?” — Diego Maiorano, Institute of South Asian Studies(ISAS), at the National University of Singapore(NUS), Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore

“The silos of regional expertise that divides the discipline of political science make Kohli’s ambition and ability to construct such a thorough empirical and analytical exercise at this scale both rare and impressive. Some of the most rewarding moments of the book for me were the various insights these attentive explorations yielded.” — Sandipto Dasgupta, New School for Social Research, New York, The India Forum
“Kohli makes an admirable foray into the common ground between history, political economy, and international relations. His volume should find a comfortable place on the shelves of all three.” — Jason Parker, Texas A&M University, History: Reviews of New Books

“Imperialism and the Developing World is a terrific book that engages with crucial enduring questions. It is refreshing to read work in political science that makes such important and challenging arguments. Atul Kohli’s newest work will be much-read and debated. “-Robert O. Keohane, Professor of International Affairs, Princeton University

“This fascinating book retraces the long arc of economic imperialism, from the East India Company to the Washington Consensus of the late 20th century. Kohli argues national economic interest led Britain and the U.S. to undermine national sovereignty in the periphery, and the prospects of economic development that goes with it. This is a work of considerable scholarship, serious yet readable.”-Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Economy, Harvard Kennedy School

“This is a grand study of the relationship between imperialism and its impact on developing countries. The author demonstrates an enormous depth of research and analysis, with an admirable style of writing and clarity in unpacking some of the very complex issues. The manuscript is indeed a very impressive piece of academic work. It is highly readable and a scholarly treasure for students of history, politics and international relations, as well as policy makers.”-Amin Saikal, Professor of International Relations, Australian National University

“This monumental new book on imperialism is a very important contribution to our comprehension of the role of Britain and the United States in the developing world. Whether or not one agrees with Kohli’s basic arguments-that imperialism is driven by the pursuit of national economic interest and that it undermines the development prospects of poor countries by limiting their sovereignty-his careful accumulation of historical information provides the basis for understanding key international processes in the 19th and 20th centuries.”-Barbara Stallings, William R. Rhodes Research Professor, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University

About the Author
Atul Kohli is the David K.E. Bruce Professor of International Affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of several books, including Poverty amid Plenty in the New India, which was a Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2012 on Asia and the Pacific, and State-Directed Development, winner of the 2005 Charles Levine Award of the International Political Science Association. He served as the chief editor of the journal World Politics from 2006-13 and was Vice President of the American Political Science Association during 2009-10.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Oxford University Press (January 31, 2020)

  • Language: ‎ English
  • Hardcover: ‎ 560 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 0190069627
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0190069629
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.86 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎ 9.3 x 1.8 x 6 inches

Slave Empire: How Slavery Built Modern Britain: Padraic X. Scanlan

‘Engrossing and powerful . . . rich and thought-provoking’
Fara Dabhoiwala, Guardian

‘Path-breaking . . . a major rewriting of history’
Mihir Bose, Irish Times

‘Slave Empire is lucid, elegant and forensic. It deals with appalling horrors in cool and convincing prose.’
The Economist

The British empire, in sentimental myth, was more free, more just and more fair than its rivals. But this claim that the British empire was ‘free’ and that, for all its flaws, it promised liberty to all its subjects was never true. The British empire was built on slavery.

Slave Empire puts enslaved people at the centre the British empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In intimate, human detail, Padraic Scanlon shows how British imperial power and industrial capitalism were inextricable from plantation slavery. With vivid original research and careful synthesis of innovative historical scholarship, Slave Empire shows that British freedom and British slavery were made together.


Engrossing and powerful . . . rich and thought-provoking.―Fara Dabhoiwala, Guardian

Slave Empire is lucid, elegant and forensic. It deals with appalling horrors in cool and convincing prose.―The Economist

Path-breaking . . . a major rewriting of history.―Mihir Bose, Irish Times

Scanlan writes about how the antislavery movement became its own political and economic force: a moralising stance for an empire which continued to profit from the global network of unfree labour. Britain’s mills, for example, still processed cotton from the American South long after the slave trade in its colonies was abolished.―Katrina Gulliver, <i>Spectator</i>

Padraic X. Scanlan has written a sweeping and devastating history of how slavery made modern Britain, and destroyed so much else. Ranging from Europe to the Caribbean, from West Africa to the new United States, Scanlan narrates the rise and fall of Britain’s slave empire with an epic concision and an unwavering humanity. He also reveals, with unprecedented clarity and power, how the antislavery movement in Britain largely failed to accept Black equality. When the British parliament finally voted to end slavery in 1833, it paid a fortune in compensation to slaveholders and not a penny to enslaved people. Britain continued to rely on slave-produced cotton (especially from the United States) for decades, while in its own empire it replaced slavery with new forms of coerced labour and racial hierarchy. Most Britons have learned to deny or forget that their wealth was rooted in slavery, while occasionally congratulating themselves on their moral achievement of no longer enslaving people. Slave Empire offers a shattering rebuke to the amnesia and myopia which still structure British history.―Nicholas Guyatt, author of <i>Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation

Padraic Scanlan is the leading historian of British antislavery in Africa. In Slave Empire, he tells the larger story of the British empire over two centuries, and sets slavery at the heart of political and economic history. The liberal empire of the nineteenth century, he shows, was the outcome of the long encounter of antislavery and economic expansion founded on enslaved or unfree labour. Antislavery was itself the excuse for empire.―Emma Rothschild, Jeremy and Jane Knowles Professor of History, Harvard University

Scanlan’s book is a fresh and fascinating new telling of the story of Britain’s role in slavery and abolition in the Atlantic World. Slave Empire shows how an empire built on slavery became an empire sustained and expanded by antislavery. A stunning narrative, Slave Empire deftly combines rich storytelling with vivid details and deep scholarship.―Bronwen Everill, author of <i>Not Made By Slaves: Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition

Lively and informative . . . there is a clear, almost textbook-like, account of the sugar plantation system . . . particularly good on the ill-fated ‘apprenticeship’ scheme that was linked to abolition after 1834.―Krishan Kumar, University Professor and William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, author of <i>Empires: A Historical and Political Sociology</i>, Times Literary Supplement

This accessible synthesis of recent scholarship comes at the right time to help shape current debates about Britain and slavery.―Nicholas Draper, author of <i>The Price of Emancipation: Slave-Ownership, Compensation and British Society at the End of Slavery

Scanlan writes about how the antislavery movement became its own political and economic force: a moralising stance for an empire which continued to profit from the global network of unfree labour. Britain’s mills, for example, still processed cotton from the American South long after the slave trade in its colonies was abolished.―Katrina Gulliver, Spectator

Powerful, often devastating, always compelling.―All About History

Freedom’s Debtors interweaves

a remarkably broad array of historical themes common to studies of abolition and post-emancipation societies, including contemporary notions of race and civilization, the tension between morality and profitability, and conflicts over land and labour. Scanlan does this remarkably well, in smooth, clear prose and with a keen eye for rich anecdotes and illustrations. These features, along with Scanlan’s mastery of the sources and literature, make this book essential reading, not just for Africanists but for anyone interested in antislavery and abolition.―Sean M. Kelley, Slavery & Abolition

Freedom’s Debtors offers

a much-needed account of how British abolitionist principles were developed and applied in West Africa . . . Scanlan’s study emphasises how British and other non-African actors developed and profited from new forms of coercive labor as a result of the abolition of the slave trade . . . Scanlan’s book provides a strong foundation for exploring the connections between the ‘abolitionist’ laws and policies imposed on Sierra Leone’s ‘Liberated Africans’ and those that were applied to other imperial subjects during this dynamic time of ideological revolution and global expansion.―Trina Leah Hogg, Journal of African History

Padraic Scanlan has not only written an excellent book on Sierra Leone, he has produced one of the most important books ever written on Liberated Africans . . . Freedom’s Debtors is essential reading . . . Scanlan powerfully re-centres our understanding of abolitionism and forces us to re-examine its immediate and long-term effects in Africa.―Matthew S. Hopper, Journal of British Studies

Based on exhaustive research within British missionary and personal papers as well as documents in the Sierra Leone archives, [Freedom’s
] . . . breaks conceptual ground and charts a new historiographical direction. Scanlan makes connections between the logic of capitalism and its intersection with colonialism and slavery. He demonstrates how British West Africa was enmeshed with economic systems at a global level and by taking the focus away from Europe, he challenges the prevailing narratives of abolitionism and colonialism. His argues convincingly that without slavery, without colonial ‘outposts’, capitalism and freedom might have evolved differently. This compelling book makes a huge contribution to our understanding of the processes which led to abolition but has wider implications for the historiography and the paradigms that inform it.―Canadian Historical Association

Freedom’s Debtors is timely, original, and lucid. Its analysis of the political, economic, and cultural forces that shaped the development of Sierra Leone challenges celebratory narratives about the abolition of the slave trade and offers a new account of life in this British colony. Padraic Scanlan’s attention to the agency of West Africans and to ‘British antislavery in practice’ makes this work an important contribution to our understanding of the nature and locus of Atlantic history.―American Historical Association

About the Author

Dr Padraic X. Scanlan earned a BA (Hons) in History from McGill University in 2008, and a PhD in History from Princeton University in 2013. He is Assistant Professor in the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources and the Centre for Diaspora & Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto and a Research Associate at the Joint Centre for History and Economics at the University of Cambridge. He has also held appointments at the London School of Economics and Harvard University.

  • Publisher: ‎ Robinson (June 28, 2022)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • Paperback: ‎ 464 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 1472142330
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1472142337
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.1 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎ 5 x 1.13 x 7.88 inches

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Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain: Sathnam Sanghera

or hardcover:

BBC Newshour, 16 September 2022

A best-selling british author’s American nonfiction debut: In this brilliantly illuminating work exploring the realities and legacies of empire, Sathnam Sanghera demonstrates how so much of what we consider to be modern Britain is actually rooted in its imperial past.

In prose that is once clear-eyed and full or acerbic wit, Sathnam Sanghera shows how the past is everywhere in the United Kingdom, drawing as well critical links to similarities in the United States and in othercountries throughout the world. Empire (British or otherwise) informs nearly everything, from common thought processes to the routines that shape everyday life, from the foundation of the National Health Service to the nature of racism in the U.K., from the British distrust of intellectuals in public life to the exceptionalism that permeated the campaign for Brexit and the government’s early response to the Covid crisis. And all of this while empire itself is a subject that is shockingly obscured from view. Revelatory and lucid, Empireland suggests that cultivating a new, more honest relationship to the past is essential for moving forward.

About the Author:

SATHNAM SANGHERA is the best-selling author of Empireland, Marriage Material, and his memoir, The Boy with the Topknot. A graduate from Christ’s College, Cambridge, columnist and writer at The Times, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Sanghera lives in North London.

Sathnam Sanghera was born to Punjabi parents in the West Midlands in 1976. He entered the education system unable to speak English but, after attending Wolverhampton Grammar School, graduated from Christ’s College, Cambridge with a first class degree in English Language and Literature. Before becoming a writer he (among other things) worked at a burger chain, a hospital laundry, a market research firm, a sewing factory and a literacy project in New York.

Between 1998 and 2006 he was at The Financial Times, where he worked (variously) as a news reporter in the UK and the US, specialised in writing about the media industries, worked across the paper as Chief Feature Writer, and wrote an award-winning weekly business column. Sathnam joined The Times as a columnist and feature writer in 2007 and is a regular contributor on national radio and TV, having appeared on programmes including Have I Got News For You and BBC Front Row Late and presented a range of documentaries, including The Massacre That Shook The Empire on Channel 4, which was shortlisted for best Factual TV show at the 2019 Asian Media Awards.

Sathnam’s first book, The Boy With The Topknot: A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton, was shortlisted for the 2008 Costa Biography Award, the 2009 PEN/Ackerley Prize and named 2009 Mind Book of the Year. It was adapted for BBC2 by Kudos/Parti Productions, featured Bafta-nominated and EEACTA-winning performances, won a Mipcom Diversify TV Excellence Award, was named Best TV Programme at the 2018 Asian Media Awards and Best Single Drama at the RTS Midlands Awards, and was described by The Radio Times as a “smash hit”.

His novel, Marriage Material, has been shortlisted for a 2014 South Bank Sky Arts Award and a 2013 Costa Book Award, been longlisted for the 2014 Desmond Elliot Prize, picked by The Sunday Times, The Observer and Metro as one of the novels of 2013, and cited as one of the Guardian Readers’ Books of the Year in 2014. It is being adapted for the stage at the Birmingham Rep by award-winning playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti.

He has won numerous prizes for his journalism, including the accolade of Young Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards in 2002, Article of the Year in the 2005 Management Today Writing Awards, Newspaper Feature of the Year in the 2005 Workworld Media Awards, HR Journalist of the Year in the 2006 and 2009 Watson Wyatt Awards for Excellence, Media Commentator of the Year in the 2015 Comment Awards and the Edgar Wallace Trophy for Writing of the Highest Quality in the 2017 London Press Club Awards.

He was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters for services to journalism by The University of Wolverhampton in September 2009 and a President’s Medal by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2010. In 2016 he was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature, was bestowed with the Pride of Pothohar Award in 2018 for his contribution to the Sikh community, while in 2013 writer Jonathan Coe named him one of “The Men of Next 25 years” in GQ Magazine saying that “whether he’s writing autobiography or fiction, Sathnam is busy carving out his own literary niche – in the multicultural British Midlands – which he explores with incredible grace, generosity and humour”.

He has written an introduction to a Vintage Classics edition of The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett. The Boy With The Topknot, was originally published by Penguin in hardback as If You Don’t Know Me By Now. Marriage Material is published in the USA by Europa Editions. He has been a judge for The Wellcome Book Prize and The Costa Book Awards, was formerly a trustee for mental health charity Rethink and chair of media charity Creative Access, and is a patron for Writing West Midlands. He lives in London and his third book, EmpireLand: How Modern Britain is Shaped by its Imperial Past will be published by Viking Books in 2021.

  • Publisher‏ : ‎ Pantheon (February 28, 2023)
  • Language‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • ISBN-10‏ : ‎ 0593316673
  • ISBN-13‏ : ‎ 978-0593316672

Top reviews from the United States


4.0 out of 5 stars Delusions of Grandeur – STILL

In the endless catalogue of British imperial atrocities, the unprovoked invasion of Tibet in 1903 was a minor but fairly typical episode. Tibetans, explained the expedition’s cultural expert, were savages, “more like hideous gnomes than human beings”. Thousands of them were massacred defending their homeland, “knocked over like skittles” by the invaders’ state-of-the-art machine guns. “I got so sick of the slaughter that I ceased fire,” wrote a British lieutenant, “though the General’s order was to make as big a bag as possible.” As big a bag as possible – killing inferior people was a kind of blood sport.

And then the looting started. More than 400 mule-loads of precious manuscripts, jewels, religious treasures and artworks were plundered from Tibetan monasteries to enrich the British Museum and the Bodleian Library. Countless others were stolen by marauding troops. Sitting at home watching the BBC antiques show Flog It one quiet afternoon in the early 21st century, Sathnam Sanghera saw the delighted descendant of one of those soldiers make another killing – £140,000 for selling off the artifacts his grandfather had “come across” in the Himalayas.

In his illuminating new book Sathnam Sanghera demonstrates how so much of what we consider to be modern Britain is actually rooted in our imperial past. In prose that is, at once, both clear-eyed and full of acerbic wit, Sanghera shows how our past is everywhere: from how we live to how we think, from the foundation of the NHS to the nature of our racism, from our distrust of intellectuals in public life to the exceptionalism that imbued the campaign for Brexit and the government’s early response to the Covid crisis. And yet empire is a subject, weirdly hidden from view.

The British Empire ran for centuries and covered vast swathes of the world. It is, as Sanghera reveals, fundamental to understanding Britain. However, even among those who celebrate the empire there seems to be a desire not to look at it too closely – not to include the subject in our school history books, not to emphasize it too much in our favorite museums.

At a time of great division, when we are arguing about what it means to be British, Sanghera’s book urges us to address this bewildering contradiction. For, it is only by stepping back and seeing where we really come from, that we can begin to understand who we are, and what unites us.
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Dr. Johnson.

Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2021

Sanghera has presented an unglossed history of the British Empire and how it has shaped current British views of race and nationality. Some readers will think that un British, which is far from accurate. The author is devoted to Britain and wants its internal ethnic conflicts understood in historical context. It’s a harsh history for Britain to accept that three centuries of prosperity were bought at the expense of others. Sanghera works through this methodically and with dignity. There is emotion but buttressed with facts. The period for denial of the facts, for what the author calls “selective amnesia” has passed, and this book can guide the nation past that era with renewed dignity.

Similar ethnic divisions exist in many or most large countries, but Britain came to its diversity through a distinct route. There was the underlying sense of exceptionalism that all imperial or economic powers possess. Therefore, they possessed a belief that a good doctrine was being spread while exploiting nations whose cultures were
neither understood nor respected. It is hoped that through a recognition of the past the present diverse Britain will accept that it has become a microcosm of its former empire, thereby appreciate and achieve the possibilities the diversity presents.

There are darker ways to read this story. I believe that the author’s intentions are constructive and it be read as such.
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Richard M. Eason

5.0 out of 5 stars Empire and Oppression: A Sine Qua Non
Reviewed in the United States on June 25, 2022 A powerful and needed story. This book turns over the stones of the British Empire to reveal what lies beneath. It is not a pretty picture. Like in the American South, where I now live, so much was built on the backs of people of color. A reckoning is long overdue.

James Mowry

5.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Account of the Historical Amnesia about the British Empire
Reviewed in the United States on October 25, 2021 The author, who is of Sikh heritage but was born in Britain, examines the consequences of the British Empire on modern Britain. His account is balanced, not polemic, but despite his wit and enlightened outlook, traces of anger and exasperation still come through by the end of the book. Certainly the history of the Empire isn’t taught well in Britain, and to most American readers it is probably even more obscure. This book doesn’t avoid the most horrific incidents of massacre and genocide. As for the current controversies, such as removal of statues, Sanghera makes the perfectly reasonable point that taking down a statue of an imperialist does no more to change history than taking down Nazi symbols in Germany after the war changed the history of World War II.

Is there a book that tries to do the same thing for our American divide on politics, race, and history? Or is our own country past hope?

Z. Y.

5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
Reviewed in the United States on March 25, 2021 Fabulous read, great perspective, and a lot hit close to home in my own experience as an American of Pakistani descent.

D. C. M. Bell

Reviewed in the United States on April 17, 2021

This is a must read and a beautifully modulated antidote to some of the myths about our past which deserve to be buried once and for all – gently but very firmly. The author is neither dogmatic nor strident, but builds his case for a new evaluation of our past on evidence and often telling facts. Bravo.

William L. Scurrah

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a good book to start with if you’re interested in the history of the British empire.
Reviewed in the United States on April 3, 2022

Very well written, the author invites us to accompany him on his journey to discover the complex truths of the British empire. Both a personal and a scholarly investigation. Very good book to begin your own journey, and along the way you will learn some things about the American empire, as well.

Top reviews from other countries

Debbie Young

5.0 out of 5 stars So glad I read this book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 9, 2021

I bought this book after reading an article about it by the author in The Times and thought it would be a constructive way to help me consider current thinking about racism in modern Britain, rather than just about our imperial history. I am one of the lucky few who studied imperialism at school (I took a module in nationalism and neonationalism as former colonies regained their freedom as part of my history course for the International Baccalaureat), which was a helpful starting point, but this book took me back to the beginning of Empire and on a journey through to the present day, and gave me a broader perspective on both the past and the way forward.

I was also keen to read it as I have always lived in pretty WASPish regions, currently in a small Cotswold village whose village school has been criticised by OFSTED for not being more multicultural – challenging when the local community is by nature monocultural because there simply are no immigrants or British citizens of foreign descent. My Scottish husband is about as close as it comes to an ethnic minority in this very English village.

The book is very well researched and presented and can be read as a series of essays on different sub-themes. It is very well researched (nearly 50 pages of bibliography for just over 200 pages of narrative), and provides ample recommendations for further reading for those who want to explore further. The author, British born and bred, and the descendant of immigrants, is a likeable and dignified narrator who presents in my view a balanced and fair approach to the issues he discusses.

It includes many challenging and difficult details to read, such as some horrific acts of cruelty, but these are cited sparingly and must be addressed as part of the overall picture.

I am very glad I read this book and now feel better equipped to deal with national and global conversations about racism and the legacy of colonialism and empire, and I will also be able to put better into context museum displays and public statuary that relate to this part of our history, which need to be given a much higher profile as part of our society, its culture and its history, for us properly to process the past and move on in a more unified, egalitarian and peaceful future. I really hope it reaches the very wide audience it deserves.

Thank you, Sathnam Sanghera, for opening my eyes.
It’s a very timely publication especially with the current BLM movement and the conversation of whether various statues should remain in place. He gives a potted history of the empire: its origins, its modus operandi, its excesses and its consequences. Due to the relatively slim volume, about 200 pages, it can only be anecdotes but the author goes to great lengths to point out when differing opinions exist, which is quite often when it comes to the British empire. He then suggests how and why the legacy of the empire shapes our collective ( British) thought processes in both national politics and personal behaviour towards those from former colonies and I think he gets it pretty spot on. I would strongly recommend Shashi Tharoor’s excellent ‘Inglorious Empire’ for those wanting to find out a bit more about the British in India.

I recommend this book for all (white and non-white)) British persons for an insight into their pasts, their current thinking and hopefully a better future. I agree with the author that the single best way forward is to make teaching of the empire along with all its excesses mandatory in schools. Then, and only then, will a new generation be aware of our past, be able to understand our present and hopefully conduct our future with fairness and compassion. What to do with certain statues will fall into place quite naturally.

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Central African Republic: Under Russian influence • FRANCE 24 English

FRANCE 24 English – Sep 10, 2022

Since 2018, mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group, an effective secret army of the Kremlin, have been active in Central African Republic. They protect the impoverished country’s regime in exchange for valuable mineral resources and deploy a massive propaganda campaign to cover up the massacres, rapes and torture they are accused of. Taking advantage of France’s loss of influence in its former colony, Russia is seen to be using Central African Republic – a country ripped apart by decades of civil war – as a testing ground in a new battle for global influence. FRANCE 24’s Carol Valade and Clément Di Roma report.

DeSantis hit with devastating news after his vile stunt

Brian Tyler Cohen – Sep 16, 2022

NEW: DeSantis hit with DEVASTATING news after his vile stunt.

Boston Children’s Hospital Becomes Latest Target Of MAGA-Right Threats

MSNBC – Sep 16, 2022

Chris Hayes: Not a week goes by without a story of some election official or civil servant getting in the cross hairs of the most vile faction of the MAGA right and finding themselves besieged with harassment and threats. The most recent victim is Boston Children’s Hospital.

Illegal fishing and climate change affect fishermen’s livelihoods

CGTN Africa– Sep 17, 2022

Fishermen along Lake Naivasha in Kenya’s Rift Valley are having to deal with the effects of illegal fishing and climate change as fish stocks continue to dwindle. And as Nick Mudimba reports, some have been forced to look for alternative sources of income as the problem persists.