Britain’s Empire
Resistance, Repression and Revolt
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Paperback with free ebook
$29.95$17.9740% off
576 pages / January 2022 / 9781839764226
$9.99$5.9940% off
576 pages / October 2011 / 9781844678921
Hardback with free ebook
576 pages / November 2011 / 9781844677382

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Paperback with free ebook
$24.95$14.9740% off
576 pages / November 2012 / 9781844670673

A magisterial history of resistance to the rising of the British empire

As the call for a new understanding of our national history grows louder, Britain’s Empire turns the received imperial story on its head. Richard Gott recounts the long-overlooked narrative of resisters, revolutionaries and revolters who stood up to the might of the Empire. In a story of almost continuous colonialist violence, Britain’s crimes unspool from the beginning of the eighteenth century to the Indian Mutiny, spanning the globe from Ireland to Australia. Capturing events from the perspective of the colonised, Gott unearths the all-but-forgotten stories excluded from mainstream histories.


“Gott’s … contribution is to restore—or in many cases to introduce—the British Empire’s rebels and resisters to the general picture; which of course bears out his view of its tyranny (otherwise why would they have resisted?), but also, and more importantly, elevates the subjects of the Empire to a higher and more dignified status that that of mere ‘victims.’ He is right to say that this ‘tale of resistance over two centuries has never before been considered over the wide sweep of Empire.’”

“A welcome, even necessary, corrective.”

“Vivid and startling … Gott’s achievement is to show, as no historian has done before, that violence was a central, constant and ubiquitous part of the making and keeping of the British Empire.”

“Gott … faults the conventional history of Empire which, while celebrating the victories of the conquerors, ‘omits the accounts of the conquered.’ Gott aims to fill the gap with brisk accounts of the oft en fierce resistance that native people put up to imperial conquerors.”

“His message is stark but Gott is never shrill. He writes as a scholar, not an accuser.”

“Stimulating, inspirational and much needed.”

“Pungent and provocative … a rich compendium of revolt.”

“A tour de force.”

“A relentless chronicle of resistance to British rule and the brutality with which that resistance was suppressed.”

“Throughout its history the British Empire was drenched in blood. Gott’s book makes an indispensable contribution towards establishing this truth.”

“A salutary counterblast and a goodbye to all that Niall Ferguson and his ilk would like to establish as the official history to be taught in British schools.”

“By putting resistance at the heart of the story of the British Empire, Richard Gott has perhaps made one of the clearest statements yet about the reality of British imperial rule.”

“He provides, for the first time, a sense of the sheer extent of the injury suffered by the colonised people.”

“Anyone tending to view the British Empire as benign or civilising will get a jolt from this painstaking and detailed history … an excellent antidote to the voguish apologists for Empire currently influencing the school curriculum today.”

“The importance of Gott’s book is its range—many instances of imperial brutality are catalogued with almost gleeful precision. It is also true that much of the tough, fighting side of empire has been glossed over in a series of saccharine, Boy’s Own accounts, which tend to romanticise the achievements of soldiers and generals. Gott provides a useful corrective … he should be admired for the enthusiasm, dedication and thoroughness with which he has set about his task.”

“At the heart of Gott’s argument … lies a fundamental truth: violence was implicit and a quotidian fact of empire. It is equally true that historians have not attended sufficiently to that fact.”

“Remembering the forgotten and ignored stories of Empire—the victories as well as the failures of the conquered peoples, the atrocities of the conquerors—is one important step in building respect and beginning the long hard work of making amends for centuries of injustice. In this important task, Richard Gott’s latest book is a powerful resource.”

“His originality lies in retrieving the names and reputations of rebels and resisters, looking at the empire from below … He demonstrates conclusively that the establishment and maintenance of the British empire was a source of constant struggle: in nearly all areas of the world, few accepted its arrival with equanimity.”

“An epic work of popular history examining the resistance to empire on the part of its victims.”

Britain’s Empire brings together and archives the history of diverse people who share a sad tradition: that of those who were oft en outgunned, scared, tired, broken and oppressed, and still fought. These were real people, and while many of their names will never be known, they are lent back moments of their lives and trials over 500 excellent pages.”

“For many years a radical journalist, Gott is good on the detail … his great strength is the way he draws out the links and reverberations of events in the British Empire.”

“Gott does for the enslaved peoples of the Empire what E. P. Thompson did for the ordinary English working classes—he rediscovers their histories and gives them back their voices of resistance to British imperialism.”

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