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Macaulay: Britain's Liberal Imperialist (Hardback)Zareer Masani
Hardback Published: 04/07/2013
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Was Thomas Macaulay a cultural imperialist or a prophetic moderniser? He always inspired both admiration and hostility. He introduced English education to India, creating a class of westernised Indians often reviled as 'Macaulay's children'; but today many former 'Untouchables' literally worship him as their liberator from caste tyranny. This new biography gives a vivid insight into one of the towering intellects of Victorian Britain, a brilliant, complex, self-made man, who rose from middle class origins to the highest circles of the world's largest empire. We follow his meteoric journey from child prodigy to Whig parliamentary orator, playing a major role in the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832, then imperial administrator and liberal reformer in India, and later Cabinet minister, revered elder statesman and famed historian back in Britain. We also get a revealing portrait of his personal life as a bachelor romantically attached to his sisters. Masani reclaims Macaulay as a pioneer of globalisation based on the English language and Western values. A strong advocate of liberal interventionism across the globe, he was the ideological precursor of Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Western military interventions in the world's trouble-spots. But he was also the architect of the 'soft power' through which the West permeates the rest of the world.