The legacy of colonialism is extensive and widespread, it has influenced cultural thought of the 1900s more than any other event. Moreover, its impact on indigenous and global politics, society, religion, philosophy and academia is immense. Today, post graduate and doctoral courses are available on the topic, and its emergence as a field of study is highly in demand. Naturally, the discourse on colonialism and its effects is also broad. Today we’re talking about best books on British colonialism that can get you initiated into the topic.
British Empire: Best Books On British Colonialism-
- Ornamentalism by David Cannadine
- Inglorious Empire by Shashi Tharoor
- The Anarchy by William Dalrymple
- Up The Country by Emily Eden
- How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney
- Land of Tears by Robert Harms
- A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolome de las Casas
- The Empire Project by John Darwin
- Journal of the Disasters in Afghanistan 1841-2 by Lady Sale
Ornamentalism by David Cannadine
This history book reveals the origins, culminations and all that happened between of the British Empire from the perspective of the British. He delves into the psychologies of the British that prompted them to imperialize more than half of the world, including their perceptions of race and class. This book is a deep dive into colonialism, from the perspective of the colonizers.
Inglorious Empire by Shashi Tharoor
Indian polymath Tharoor is a scholar of history, politics and culture and in this book, he plunges into the heart of the British colonization of India. It explores the impacts of this on India, and shows how every supposed development the British brought in, was to foster their interest. They built their development and world stature on Indian coffers, and this is a book that re-examines the British rule, critiquing it harshly in the process.
The Anarchy by William Dalrymple
This is a comprehensive account on the history of British colonization, right from the entry of the East India Company into it to its transformation into a usurping power. It explains the mechanisms of control, whereby a board of directors in London controlled the fate of a magnanimous and diverse country that was the storehouse of riches of the world.
Up The Country by Emily Eden
This is a collection of letters written by the simple, innocent and upbeat sister of India’s harshest governor general, George Eden. This reveals the splendour and subjugation of India in the British rule through wondrous eyes.
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney
As the title suggests, this book unpacks the systematic way in which European colonization destabilized Africa, reducing its rich and varied culture to europeanized life. This book delves into the heart of African colonialism, and is both informative and interesting.
Land of Tears by Robert Harms
This book talks about the transformation of equatorial Africa in the hands of the British colony to rubble. It delves into the geographies and topographies of the tropical paradise of the Congo basin. In the process, it demonstrates the ecological impact of the colony.
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolome de las Casas
This classic comes from Bartolome de la Casas, the first and harshest critic of the Spanish colonialism. Although this isn’t strictly about Britain, it’s still a fine exploration of the mechanisms of the Europe in general. Moreover, it’s a wonderful study of the aspects of colonialism in the West Indies.
The Empire Project by John Darwin
This is a non fiction that is ginormous in its scope and information unpacked. It is a history of the humongous imperialist project of Britain. The domination of the white supplemented with manpower, raw material and wealth from other countries was indeed a project. It was a systematic and planned excursion.
Journal of the Disasters in Afghanistan 1841-2 by Lady Sale
Florentina was the wife of military man Robert Henry Sale. Thus, she had the opportunity to travel the world on his odysseys. Thus she travelled to all the colonized countries such as India, Burma, Afghanistan and more, and chronicled her experiences. In the first Afghan war, she was kidnapped with her family, and she also wrote through her imprisonment. Her book is a first hand account of the horrors of colonization, even for middle class whites.