CategoriesLast Chance to buy! CITIES OF EMPIRE


TRISTRAM HUNT    Book Number: 81976    Product format: Hardback

A familiar face on our TV screens both as an MP and maker of historical documentaries, Tristram Hunt has written a brilliant book looking at the British Empire from an unusual angle. Recent views on empire have diverged sharply, with some arguing that it was a force for progress and others that it was characterised by crimes against humanity. Hunt emphasizes the complexity of its paradoxes and focuses on the effects that are still with us. Notable is the legacy of colonial cities dotted across the globe. "From the Palladian glories of Leinster House in Dublin to the Ruskinian fantasia of the Victoria Terminus in Mumbai ... the footprint of the old British Empire remains wilfully in evidence." Hunt takes ten cities and examines the changing nature of British imperialism through their architecture, civic institutions, street names, news pages and rituals. Change is the key, and the motivation of planters in 17th century Ulster was very different to the free traders of 19th century Hong Kong. At every stage there were political philosophies, moral certainties, theologies and ideologies to justify Britain's increasing global reach. Hunt aims to explain how these ideologies were realised in the development of urban life, beginning with Boston with its close cultural links with Britain and moving on to Barbados as a centre of slavery. The fight against the Dutch to take control of Cape Town is followed by the East India Company's outpost in Calcutta and the beginnings of the Raj. Other cities are Dublin, Hong Kong, Melbourne (featuring the importance of cricket), Bombay, New Delhi and Liverpool. Fascinating and well-written. 515pp, photos.

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Published price: $35
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ISBN 9780805093087
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