Inglorious Empire: what the British did to India

Category: Book
By (author): Tharoor, Shashi
Subject:  HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
  HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain
  HISTORY / General
  POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Published: May 2018
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 9.21in x 6.02in x 1.00in
Our Price:
$ 26.95
Availability:
Available: 3-5 days

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

In the eighteenth century, India's share of the world economy was as large as Europe's. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die from starvation.

British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor takes on and demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial "gift"-from the railways to the rule of law-was designed in Britain's interests alone. He goes on to show how Britain's Industrial Revolution was founded on India's deindustrialization and the destruction of its textile industry. In this bold and incisive reassessment of colonialism, Tharoor exposes to devastating effect the inglorious reality of Britain's stained Indian legacy.

Review Quote*

‘Ferocious and astonishing. Essential for a Britain lost in sepia fantasies about its past,Inglorious Empire is history at its clearest and cutting best.'

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‘Brilliant … A searing indictment of the Raj and its impact on India. … Required reading for all Anglophiles in former British colonies, and needs to be a textbook in Britain.'

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‘Tharoor convincingly demolishes some of the more persistent myths about Britain's supposedly civilizing mission in India … [he] charts the destruction of pre-colonial systems of government by the British and their ubiquitous ledgers and rule books … The statistics are worth repeating.'

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‘Tharoor's book - arising from a contentious Oxford Union debate in 2015 where he proposed the motion "Britain owes reparations to her former colonies" - should keep the home fires burning, so to speak, both in India and in Britain … He makes a persuasive case, with telling examples.'

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‘This book burns with the power of intellect married with conviction … this is erudite, well-written, thoroughly documented and persuasive history that focuses varied sources into a coherent critique of colonialism in the Indian context. Tear up your copies of Ferguson's neo-liberal mind rot and get angry like Tharoor.'

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‘His writing is a delight and he seldom misses his target … Tharoor should be applauded for tackling an impossibly contentious subject … he deserves to be read. Indians are not the only ones who need reminding that empire has a lot to answer for.'

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‘Those Brits who speak confidently about how Britain's "historical and cultural ties" to India will make it easy to strike a great new trade deal should read Mr Tharoor's book. It would help them to see the world through the eyes of the … countries once colonised or defeated by Britain.'

Review Quote*

‘Well-referenced and full of fascinating facts, quotes and anecdotes,Inglorious Empire is a scorching indictment of British rule in India, and of British imperialism more broadly.'

Review Quote*

Inglorious Empire is a timely reminder of the need to start teaching unromanticised colonial history in British schools. A welcome antidote to the nauseating righteousness and condescension pedalled by Niall Ferguson in his 2003 bookEmpire.‘