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This week in Reviews in History we are focussing on a single book, Jon Wilson's India Conquered: Britain's Raj and the Chaos of Empire. We invited five reviewers to contribute to a round table discussion and take up different aspects of the book, with the author then responding to each in turn.
I was recently in a conversation with a friend who told us that his parents, who were communists in New Zealand, used to make him sit through slide shows on China in the 1970s. Young Philip was subjected to these presentations because China was, his parents told him, the closest place to utopia on this earth.
In the West, it can be easy to forget just how closely China and the USSR were once bound in political imaginations. Today, the USSR is a land to which there is no return: a figment of past dreams and nightmares – whereas China is on everyone’s mind, a growing economic power that has shed its socialist past to move to the forefront of the new capitalist order.
In 1899, before Theodore Roosevelt ran for national office, Secretary of State John Hay orchestrated an international agreement with six imperial powers to collectively guarantee the maintenance of free trade in Chinese ports, a potentially lucrative market for American goods and a primary cause of friction among covetous foreign traders.
The comparative history of empires has become a very popular subject in recent years, provoking interesting debates on the origins of the globalization process and on the future of post-Cold War international relations.(1) The focus on empires has also provided a constructive way to reassess the role of Europe in world history, going beyond the traditional great narrat
The historical literature on Afghanistan and the various armed conflicts fought on its soil has greatly increased in recent years, due to the tragic events following the American-led invasion of the country in October 2001.
These engaging tomes, a two-volume collection of translations on pan-Asianism and a collection of articles in an edited volume on the same topic, offer a mint of scholarship on what has long been a troubling issue to decipher for students limited to the English language – namely, what is the deal with Pan-Asianism? What does it all mean, who talked about it, why and where?
‘When did the West first seek reconciliation with Communist China?’, asks the blurb on the dust jacket of Patrick Wright’s latest book, Passport to Peking.
In the autumn of 1942, as Britain and the United States delicately negotiated the roles each would play in the South and Southeast Asian theatres of war against Japan, British colonial officials in London prepared to counter the American anti-colonial rhetoric which had already accompanied the first Americans dispatched to India in early 1942.