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Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire (Paperback)Caroline Elkins (author)
A blistering, monumental history of the British Empire that spotlights the methods and means of violent force and coercion employed over two hundred years in pursuit of the relentless subjugation of indigenous peoples.
Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2022
A searing, landmark study of the British Empire that lays bare its pervasive use of violence throughout the twentieth century.
Sprawling across a quarter of the world's land mass and claiming nearly seven hundred million people, Britain's empire was the largest in human history. For many, it epitomized the nation's cultural superiority, but what legacy have we delivered to the world?
Spanning more than two hundred years of history, Caroline Elkins reveals an evolutionary and racialized doctrine that espoused an unrelenting deployment of violence to secure and preserve British imperial interests. She outlines how ideological foundations of violence were rooted in Victorian calls for punishing indigenous peoples who resisted subjugation, and how over time this treatment became increasingly systematised. And she makes clear that when Britain could no longer maintain control over the violence it provoked and enacted,Britain retreated from its empire, destroying and hiding incriminating evidence of its policies and practices.
Drawing on more than a decade of research on four continents, Legacy of Violence implicates all sides of the political divide regarding the creation, execution, and cover-up of imperial violence. By demonstrating how and why violence was the most salient factor underwriting both the empire and British imperial identity, Elkins explodes long-held myths and sheds a disturbing new light on empire's role in shaping the world today.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 896
Weight: 699 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 54 mm
'Masterful, crucial... as unflinching as it is gripping, as carefully researched as it is urgently necessary' - Jill Lepore, author of These Truths
'Masterly... demonstrates that the British Empire, far from being part good, part bad, baked together from the outset state-sponsored violence and institutional racism with a periodic rewriting of its history as one of progress and civilisation, covering up atrocities and hiding or destroying incriminating documents. This book is dynamite' - Robert Gildea, author of Empires of the Mind
'The history of the British Empire that we desperately need today... Sweeping, forceful, and passionately argued... A monumental achievement' - Maya Jasanoff, author of The Dawn Watch
'In nothing was the British Empire more successful than its skilful concealment of the violence that it unleashed across the globe, over centuries. Caroline Elkins' Legacy of Violence is a laudably ambitious attempt at unearthing this hidden legacy, the bitter fruits of which are becoming more and more visible every day' - Amitav Ghosh, author of The Nutmeg's Curse
'A gripping, richly peopled, epic narrative... In stunning prose and drawing on staggering research, Elkins uncovers the reality of routine and ruthlessly violent suspension of law and militarized policing as imperial personnel and practices moved from crisis to crisis around the globe' - Priya Satia, author of Time's Monster: How History Makes History
'Illuminating and authoritative... The repression and violence Elkins narrates on an epic scale matters because they continue to reverberate tragically in our global present' - Priyamvada Gopal, author of Insurgent Empire
'A work of deep archival achievement that creates a historical argument that is courageous and ambitious... This is a text for our times' - Homi Bhabha, Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University
'A thumping great study by a heavyweight academic historian' - Robbie Millen, The Times
'A clear, incisive account of the way in which the British maintained public order in the colonies through 'lawful lawlessness'... An exceedingly valuable book on the dark side of the British Empire' - Wm. Roger Louis, Editor-in-Chief of Oxford History of the British Empire
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