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From Tristram Hunt, award-winning author of The Frock-Coated Communist and leading UK politician, Ten Cities that Made an Empire presents a new approach to Britain's imperial past through the cities that epitomised it Since the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997 and the end days of Empire, Britain's colonial past has been the subject of passionate debate. Tristram Hunt goes beyond the now familiar arguments about Empire being good or bad and adopts a fresh approach to Britain's empire and its legacy. Through an exceptional array of first-hand accounts and personal reflections, he portrays the great colonial and imperial cities of Boston, Bridgetown, Dublin, Cape Town, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Bombay, Melbourne, New Delhi, and twentieth-century Liverpool: their architecture, culture, and society balls; the famines, uprisings and repressions which coursed through them; the primitive accumulation and ghostly bureaucracy which ran them; the British supremacists and multicultural trailblazers who inhabited them. From the pioneers of early America to the builders of modern India, from west to east and back again, Hunt follows the processes of exchange and adaptation that collectively moulded the colonial experience and which in their turn transformed the culture, economy and identity of the British Isles. This vivid and richly detailed imperial story, located in ten of the most important cities which the Empire constructed, demolished, reconstructed and transformed, allows us a new understanding of the British Empire's influence upon the world and the world's influence upon it. Praise for The Frock-Coated Communist: 'Beautifully written and consistently engaging' - Independent 'An excellent book ... Hunt has a mastery of 19th-century British culture and European political thought' - Robert Service, Sunday Times 'Thoughtful and engaging' - Telegraph Review
This ingenious book explores the changing character of British imperialism through its architecture and civic institutions, street names, fortifications and places of worship. Avoiding the issues of whether empires were simplistically ‘good’ or ‘bad’, Hunt’s history of colonialism suggests a more diffuse process of exchange, interaction and adaptation. Hunt explores the intimate geography and complex history of ten cities – from Boston, Bridgetown and Bombay to Cape Town and Calcutta – showing how diverse the reasons for expansion were. He takes the reader from the Puritan settlement of Massachusetts during the reign of Charles I to the dismay of Prince Charles having to oversee the handover of Hong Kong nearly three centuries later.
|Publication date:||4th June 2015|
|Publisher:||Penguin Books Ltd|
|Format:||Paperback / softback|
|Categories:||Colonialism & imperialism, General & world history,|
Tristram Hunt is one of Britain's best-known historians. He was elected MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central in 2010, and between October 2013 and September 2015 served as Shadow Secretary of State for Education. He is a senior lecturer in British history at Queen Mary, University of London, and has written numerous series for radio and television and since 2017 has been Director of the V&A. His previous books include The English Civil War: At First Hand, The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels and Ten Cities that Made an Empire, between them published in more than a dozen languages.More About Tristram Hunt