Captives: Britain, Empire, and the World, 1600-1850

Linda Colley

Published by Anchor, 2004
ISBN 10: 0385721463 / ISBN 13: 9780385721462
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Synopsis: In this path-breaking book Linda Colley reappraises the rise of the biggest empire in global history. Excavating the lives of some of the multitudes of Britons held captive in the lands their own rulers sought to conquer, Colley also offers an intimate understanding of the peoples and cultures of the Mediterranean, North America, India, and Afghanistan.

Here are harrowing, sometimes poignant stories by soldiers and sailors and their womenfolk, by traders and con men and by white as well as black slaves. By exploring these forgotten captives – and their captors – Colley reveals how Britain’s emerging empire was often tentative and subject to profound insecurities and limitations. She evokes how British empire was experienced by the mass of poor whites who created it. She shows how imperial racism coexisted with cross-cultural collaborations, and how the gulf between Protestantism and Islam, which some have viewed as central to this empire, was often smaller than expected. Brilliantly written and richly illustrated, Captives is an invitation to think again about a piece of history too often viewed in the same old way. It is also a powerful contribution to current debates about the meanings, persistence, and drawbacks of empire.

From the Back Cover:Captives is rich and unfailingly inquisitive about the anxieties of imperialism, the experiences of those who did [its] hard labour, and, above all, the vulnerability of empire.”
—John Mullan, Times Literary Supplement

“In her reappraisal of what used to be called the first British Empire, Colley . . . counters as many received truths as she can with bracing antidotes. [She is] a completely original intelligence [and her book] is a sort of White Teeth version of early imperial history—full of interracial relationships, strange life journeys, good jokes, and cross-cultural borrowings.”
—Ray Foster, Financial Times

Captives is sublimely well written: cunningly paced, beguilingly fluent, deftly allusive, vividly evocative. It is a major contribution to understanding the paradox of the British: the weak who wangled the earth and were cursed for it and by it.”
—Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Literary Review

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Title: Captives: Britain, Empire, and the World, ...
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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