Inventing the English Massacre: Amboyna in History and Memory (Hardback)Alison Games (author)
- Coming soon
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 312
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm
Masterfully researched, rigorously argued, and utterly riveting, Inventing the English Massacre reveals the power a single word can have over our perception of both the past and present, suggesting that sometimes the most powerful part of a whodunnit is not in fact the crime itself but its many afterlives. Deliberately and brilliantly never resolving what actually happened at Amboyna in 1623 (or was it 1622 or 1624?), Games sleuths out a far greater mystery: the invention of the idea of the first English colonial 'massacre,' one which shaped not only Anglo-Dutch relations across the seventeenth century but the stories the British Empire would tell about itself for generations to follow. * Philip Stern, author of The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundations of the British Empire in India *
Alison Games brings her considerable talents not only to the complex and confused events in seventeenth-century Indonesia but also to the long conversation that these events spawned. She masterfully reveals how a judicial murder (the result of an alleged conspiracy) became a symbol of Dutch perfidy, making the case that the discourse around Amboyna shaped the British conceptualization of its empire. This smart book is beautifully written, conveying a nuanced understanding of an elusive but fascinating history. A story that seems at first glance to be striking but minor becomes in Games's deft hands a rumination on violence, self-image, history, and memory. Brava to the author for this tour de force of global, imperial and British history. * Carla Pestana, UCLA *
Inventing the English Massacre confirms Alison Games's place as an indispensible and extraordinarily versatile chronicler of the early modern English empire. Elegantly conceived and meticulously researched, the book offers an entirely fresh perspective on a long misunderstood episode in imperial history. By investigating not only what happened in 1623 in Ambon, when English and Dutch spice traders bloodily collided, but what later generations thought had happened, Games brilliantly connects the intrigue, violence, and sheer confusion of European competition in seventeenth-century southeast Asia to the myth-making of British imperialists well into the twentieth. * Maya Jasanoff, Harvard University *
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