Just come across this fascinating little article from the Telegraph. I’ve not read the book myself but I imagine it is a fascinating read.
As a Brit – and one who knows quite a bit about British history – I am very aware of ‘colonial guilt’. Having specialised in Colonial history over the four years of living in ‘the Jewel in the Crown’ (Bangladesh, in case you’re not sure), I’ve got a pretty good idea of the things that went on in the British Raj – whether they were good or bad.
The result is the ability to disagree with just about anyone! For instance, I don’t agree with the commonly held view in Asia that the British were all that was greedy and evil nor do I agree with the commonly held view by British people who want to downplay the wrongs of the Raj that Britain saved India and made her what she is today.
As usual, the truth is somewhere in between I think.
So this book, from what the reviewer has to say about it here, sounds like it will be an excellent book to make you think. The British influence over the centuries is vast and has shaped the world today. A book like this cannot help but create debate about the rights and wrongs of that. That has to be, in my mind, a healthy thing.
So what do you think about this? Is this proof of the greed of the British? Or just a book giving the history of a country that was typical of its day? Or does the author over-hype the idea of ‘conquest’? Or does it suggest something completely different again?