- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Bookmarks; New Edition edition (24 Sept. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1905192126
- ISBN-13: 978-1905192120
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 5.6 x 21.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Blood Never Dried: A People's History of the British Empire Paperback – 24 Sep 2006
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George Bush's 'War on Terror' has inspired a forest of books about the new American Empire. But what about Britain's role in the world? "A People's History of the British Empire" challenges the claim that the British Empire was a kinder, gentler empire and suggests that the description of 'Rogue State' is more fitting. How many people today know about Britain's deep involvement in the opium drug trade in China, or that Tony Blair's hero Gladstone devoted his maiden parliamentary speech to defending his family's slave plantation in Jamaica? John Newsinger has written a wonderful popular history of key episodes in British imperial history. He pays particular attention to the battles of the colonised to free themselves of its baleful rule, including Rebellion in Jamaica; The Irish Famine; The Opium Wars; The Great Indian Rebellion; The Conquest of Egypt; Palestine in Revolt; 'Quit India' and the struggle for Independence; Suez; Malaya; Kenya and Rhodesia; and, Britain and American Imperialism.
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Top Customer Reviews
In each case too the author makes clear how the peoples of the colonized and imperialized countries rebelled against and resisted imperialism.Read more ›
The selection is from what is known as the second British Empire, that which existed after the loss of the American colonies during the late eighteenth century. The episodes examined are (1) Jamaica and Slavery, (2) The Irish Famine, (3) The Opium Wars in China, (4) The 1857-58 Rebellion (Mutiny) in India, (5) The Invasion of Egypt in 1882, (6) The Imperial Crisis subsequent to WW1, (7) The Palestine Revolt of the late 1930's, (8) The campaign for Indian Independence, (9) The Suez War, (10) Kenya and the Mau-Mau Insurrection, (11) Malaya's "Emergency", and (12) Britains relationship with American Imperialism.
Each chapter focussing on one of the subjects (as listed above) and also put the events described into a broader historical context, including many quotes from contemporary participants and observers. It also reminds the reader that what a vicious racist Churchill could be, not least in relation to Iraq (where he spoke up for gassing recalcitrant tribes) and India (where even his viceroy in India was appalled at his callous response to the Bengal Famine that cost millions of Indian lives). Those who have fond memories of Old Labour will be disturbed to discover that one area of continuity between New and Old is foreign policy. Ernest Bevin, Herbert Morrison and even Clement Atlee were quite as capable of carrying out brutal imperial policies as their Conservative opponents.Read more ›
Each of these chapters/essays is well buttressed by the breadth and depth of research that Newsinger has put into them and the notes and bibliography are a rich source of follow up reading for anyone wishing to go into more depth on particular issues. I've read quite a few books simply on the basis of them being referenced in this one, so it's not just an antidote to obscene attempts to resurrect imperial respectability but a great introduction to a variety of topics and a rich source of further reading.
It's a book that should be in every socialist's collection.
In the early 19th century, the Empire gained vast profits from slavery. 13 million people were kidnapped from Africa; two million died or were killed en route. The 1831 slave rebellion in Jamaica played a key role in overthrowing slavery in the British Caribbean.
During the 19th century, the British state waged three `Opium wars' to force the drug on China. As American historian John K. Fairbanks wrote, Britain's opium trade was `the most long-continued and systematic crime of modern times'.
India's 1857 rising for national liberation was `a national revolt' (Disraeli), `a national war' (Governor-General Lord Canning). The British government as usual accused the rebels of rape and torture (later British investigations proved these accusations to be lies), to incite its forces to commit appalling atrocities against the Indian people.
Gladstone's Liberal government ordered British forces to invade Egypt and Sudan in 1882-84. They massacred tens of thousands of people at Alexandria, Tel-el-Kebir and Omdurman.
After World War One, fought supposedly for the rights of small nations, some of the colonies, like Ireland, Egypt, India, Iraq and Palestine, decided to fight for their freedom. The Empire resisted, with its usual methods of barbarism. In Ireland, Churchill and Lloyd George enthusiastically backed the `Black and Tans' death squads.
Of the Iraq war, T. E. Lawrence wrote in 1920, "Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
very interesting book and I have learnt so many things that have been kept hidden buy it you wil not be dissapointed i assure you.Published 4 months ago by joyce
The truth, but poorly written and disjointed version which would probably not convince the millions brought up to believe otherwise.Published 8 months ago by Colinh
Forget anything you were taught in school about the British Empire. This book exposes the truth about a colonial super power that caused genocide, destruction and unimaginable... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Iona Carroll
Pretty good, like the personal stories gives it a human touchPublished 9 months ago by barry walshe
A must read for anyone who either believes in or disbelieves in the rightenous of the British EmpirePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Required reading for all jingoistic flag wavers. The truth about Britains record on the world stage from Cecil Rhodes to Tony Blair.Published 13 months ago by M C Harding
A honest and non-apologetic look at the folly and failures of empire. It becomes clearer how the scenes of unfettered 20th century capitalism were being opened by the precedent of... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Zaid
This is an interesting and well written book. John Newsinger presents episodes from British imperial history that are often ignored or brushed over, but which are, in fact, central... Read morePublished on 17 Oct. 2014 by Alan Hill
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