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Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India Paperback – 8 May 2018

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Review

"His writing is a delight and he seldom misses his target...Tharoor should be applauded for tackling an impossibly contentious subject...he deserves to be read. Indians are not the only ones who need reminding that empire has a lot to answer for."
--Literary Review

"Rare indeed is it to come across history that is so readable and so persuasive."
--Amitav Ghosh

"Inglorious Empire is a timely reminder of the need to start teaching unromanticised colonial history in British schools. A welcome antidote to the nauseating righteousness and condescension pedalled by Niall Ferguson in his 2003 book Empire."
--The Irish Times

"Tharoor convincingly demolishes some of the more persistent myths about Britain's supposedly civilizing mission in India...[he] charts the destruction of pre-colonial systems of government by the British and their ubiquitous ledgers and rule books...The statistics are worth repeating."
--Victor Mallet, Financial Times

"Brilliant...A searing indictment of the Raj and its impact on India...Required reading for all Anglophiles in former British colonies, and needs to be a textbook in Britain."
--Salil Tripathi, Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International, and author of The Colonel Who Would Not Repent

"Those Brits who speak confidently about how Britain's "historical and cultural ties" to India will make it easy to strike a great new trade deal should read Mr Tharoor's book. It would help them to see the world through the eyes of the...countries once colonised or defeated by Britain."
--Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

"Tharoor's impassioned polemic slices straight to the heart of the darkness that drives all empires. Forceful, persuasive and blunt, he demolishes Raj nostalgia, laying bare the grim, and high, cost of the British Empire for its former subjects. An essential read."
--Nilanjana Roy, Financial Times

"Ferocious and astonishing. Essential for a Britain lost in sepia fantasies about its past, Inglorious Empire is history at its clearest and cutting best."
--Ben Judah, author of This is London

"Remarkable...The book is savagely critical of 200 years of the British in India. It makes very uncomfortable reading for Brits."
-Matt Ridley, The Times

"Tharoor's book--arising from a contentious Oxford Union debate in 2015 where he proposed the motion "Britain owes reparations to her former colonies"--should keep the home fires burning, so to speak, both in India and in Britain...He makes a persuasive case, with telling examples."
--History Today

"This book burns with the power of intellect married with conviction...this is erudite, well-written, thoroughly documented and persuasive history that focuses varied sources into a coherent critique of colonialism in the Indian context. Tear up your copies of Ferguson's neo-liberal mind rot and get angry like Tharoor."
--Christopher Kremmer, Sydney Morning Herald

"Eloquent...a well-written riposte to those texts that celebrate empire as a supposed "force for good"."
--BBC World Histories

"[A]t once a moral indictment and a moralistic polemic, both intended to expose the "totally amoral, rapacious imperial machine" the British devised to plunder India."
--Mark Thomas, Canberra Times

"Well-referenced and full of fascinating facts, quotes and anecdotes, Inglorious Empire is a scorching indictment of British rule in India, and of British imperialism more broadly."
--Green Left Weekly

"Listening to Tharoor is addicting enough, and this book, born out of his speech at The Oxford Union (which went viral) is just as captivating. Tharoor compellingly posits why the British Raj in India should never be ennobled or confused as a gift, and exposes the destructive rape of India at the hands of its colonizers."
--Indulge Magazine

"Inglorious Empire both reiterates long--standing, persuasive and well--founded critiques of the British Raj's countless exploitative activities and the damage done under colonialism, and expresses [Tharoor's] surprise and disappointment that such basic points still need to be made anew today. Chapter by chapter, the book convincingly demolishes the nostalgic, self--serving arguments voiced by imperial apologists."
--Times Literary Supplement

"I had read only a few pages of Inglorious Empire before I thought, "What a wonderful book this would be to teach from." It's witty and fast-paced, the what-ifs and what-might-have-beens set up to provoke discussion. And the author's digressions, sometimes more enthralling than the topic under discussion, raise important questions about who he is [and] the country that has made him."
--Robin Jeffrey, Inside Story

"A brilliant work...distinguished among this literature in its manner of presentation and dazzling arguments...an eye-opener and a valuable source of reference for students and others to understand India's experience under British colonialism."
-Insight Turkey

"Well researched...this book is an extremely useful corrective to nostalgic imperial history and well worth reading."
--Chartist

"With telling examples and scathing statistics...the book is a timely and helpful antidote to other contemporary works...the evidence that Tharoor presents to debunk the myths about Britain's civilising mission is staggering."
--The Daily Star, Bangladesh

About the Author

Shashi Tharoor served for twenty-nine years at the UN, culminating as Under-Secretary-General. He is a Congress MP in India, the author of fourteen previous books, and has won numerous literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Tharoor has a PhD from the Fletcher School, and was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1998 as a Global Leader of Tomorrow.

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