Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World

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9781610392327: Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World

Kwasi Kwarteng is the child of parents whose lives were shaped as subjects of the British Empire, first in their native Ghana, then as British immigrants. He brings a unique perspective and impeccable academic credentials to a narrative history of the British Empire, one that avoids sweeping judgmental condemnation and instead sees the Empire for what it was: a series of local fiefdoms administered in varying degrees of competence or brutality by a cast of characters as outsized and eccentric as anything conjured by Gilbert and Sullivan.

The truth, as Kwarteng reveals, is that there was no such thing as a model for imperial administration; instead, appointees were schooled in quirky, independent-minded individuality. As a result the Empire was the product not of a grand idea but of often chaotic individual improvisation. The idosyncracies of viceroys and soldier-diplomats who ran the colonial enterprise continues to impact the world, from Kashmir to Sudan, Baghdad to Hong Kong.

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About the Author:

Kwasi Kwarteng was born in London to Ghanaian parents in 1975. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he won one of the University Classical Scholarships and graduated with a double first in Classics and History; and at Harvard University, where he spent a year as a Kennedy Scholar. He returned to Cambridge to complete a Ph.D in History, before working as an analyst for a hedge fund in London. He was recently elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament.

Review:

"Indian Express", September 11, 2011
"[Kwarteng's] book is still a reminder that a superpower's legacy of intervention will be determined by outcomes that obtain after its eventual retreat.""Publishers Weekly"October 3, 2011"[An] expertly researched and written book" "Kirkus", November 2011
"[A] fascinating debut...Kwarteng effectively illustrates the effects of empire in a forceful and thorough book that holds important lessons for today's leaders--in particular that the cost of invading and occupying a country always exceeds expectations." "Business Day" (Nigeria)"[Ghosts of Empire is] one of several books that currently reappraising what might seem a tired old subject, but in the present strange mood now prevalent, it is worth more examination ... Kwarteng's book is a useful reminder that Britain's empire left many uncomfortable legacies on which the author focuses attention."

John Spurling, "The ""New Republic
""This is an absorbing, richly researched book, smoothly written with a light touch, and suggests, if its gifted Ghanaian/British author is anything to go by, that the Empire at least got something right."

Andrew Roberts, "Wall Street Journal
""Mr. Kwarteng is an engaging writer, and his pen portraits of British imperialists are subtle and scholarly."

"Indian Express," September 11, 2011
"[Kwarteng's] book is still a reminder that a superpower's legacy of intervention will be determined by outcomes that obtain after its eventual retreat.""Publishers Weekly"October 3, 2011"[An] expertly researched and written book" "Kirkus," November 2011
"[A] fascinating debut...Kwarteng effectively illustrates the effects of empire in a forceful and thorough book that holds important lessons for today's leaders--in particular that the cost of invading and occupying a country always exceeds expectations." "Business Day" (Nigeria)"[Ghosts of Empire is] one of several books that currently reappraising what might seem a tired old subject, but in the present strange mood now prevalent, it is worth more examination ... Kwarteng's book is a useful reminder that Britain's empire left many uncomfortable legacies on which the author focuses attention."

John Spurling, "The New Republic
""This is an absorbing, richly researched book, smoothly written with a light touch, and suggests, if its gifted Ghanaian/British author is anything to go by, that the Empire at least got something right."

Andrew Roberts, "Wall Street Journal
""Mr. Kwarteng is an engaging writer, and his pen portraits of British imperialists are subtle and scholarly."

Thomas Wise, "Daily Beast"
"While trained as a historian at Cambridge, Kwarteng is no ivory-tower dweller, but rather a man who believes in the power of history to inform, inspire, and challenge the present.. Using case studies from six different regions of the British Empire--Iraq, Kashmir, Burma, Sudan, Nigeria, and Hong Kong--he illustrates the ad hoc, ill-informed, incoherent, and frequently contradictory nature of British imperial rule."

"DBC Reads"
"There is a lot to learn from Kwasi Kwarteng's "Ghosts of Empire." The text itself serves as a wonderful example of a historical work that can be palatable for the masses without sacrificing academic rigor or scholarship--exhausti

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