The cover of C. A. Bayly's new book is stunning. A handsome black man stands poised, next to the bust of a European philosopher. Blazoned across the corner of the cover is 'A Masterpiece', the judgement of Niall Ferguson, current favourite historian of the US media, on Bayly's book.
Barbara Ramusack bases her study of indirect rule under British imperialism mainly on research, including her own, which has been done since the 1960s. As she reiterates throughout the book, the topic of the ‘Native States’ is not one which has attracted widespread scholarly attention.
The Caribbean is not only made up of the islands in the Caribbean Sea but also of the mainland territories of Belize, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana. The region is marked by diversity. Some territories are very small, such as St. Martin, which has a surface area of thirty-seven square miles and a population of 73,000.
In the course of a single generation, the British empire was transformed from being a network of self-governing Atlantic communities into a cluster of largely Asian territories acquired, for the most part, through conquest. As countless historians note, the second half of the eighteenth century saw an ‘epochal shift in world power’.
Duncan Bell’s book comes with an intriguing picture on its front cover: Gustave Doré’s famous 1860 depiction of a New Zealander perched on a broken arch of London Bridge sketching the ruins of St Paul’s and its environs. The image, derived from an essay by Thomas Babington Macaulay, captures much of the Victorian premonition and anxiety about empire.
What does it mean to say that all men are created equal? In the context of the American Declaration of Independence it could be seen as merely a rather grandiose way of saying that Americans have as much right to self-government as Englishmen.
The intention of this book is to ‘retell’ the history of the Middle East through ‘the medium of individuals’ (p. 18). But not any individuals, only those in the ‘Middle East kingmaking business’ (p. 158). None of the thirteen men, ten British and three American, and two women, both British, who feature most prominently in this nicely produced volume ‘attained the summit of national power’ (p.
Scholars continue to find new things to say about the Irish Diaspora. For many of them-especially those in Ireland and America-the term Diaspora, when applied to the Irish, has a deep, politicised meaning. We can see this point exemplified in two observations.
The first decades of British rule in Cyprus have so far received by far too little academic interest. Ever since the fourth volume of George Hill’s epic A History of Cyprus was published in 1952, few books have added in depth analysis and new insights on this period.
As the volume of books and articles on eighteenth-century Ireland continues to expand, so Irish Jacobitism increasingly stands out as a glaring omission.