Violent, powerful, vast: the British Empire is typically viewed as distant and tropical. By contrast, this book examines the effects of the empire on men, women and children across the globe: both those under imperial rule and those who implemented it. Looking beyond politics and diplomacy, Philippa Levine combines a traditional approach to colonial history with an investigation of the experience of living within the empire.
Spanning the period from Cromwells rule to decolonization in the late twentieth century, and including an extensive chronology for ease of reference, Levine considers the impact of British rule for people in Africa, India and Australia, as well as for the English rulers, and for the Welsh, Scots and Irish who were subject to 'internal colonialism' under the English yoke. Imperialism often led to serious unrest; Levine examines the cruel side of imperialisms purportedly 'civilizing' mission unflinchingly.