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Black History Conversations 2022: Must reads

Review of: Empireland by Sathnam Sanghera and Slave Empire by Padraic X Scanlan:


Empireland by Sathnam Sanghera 

Sanghera’s impassioned and deeply personal journey through Britain’s imperial past and present. The empire, he argues, still shapes British society – its delusions of exceptionalism, its immense private and public wealth, the fabric of its cities, the dominance of the City of London, even the entitled and drunken behaviour of British expats and holidaymakers abroad. Yet the British choose not to see this: wilful amnesia about the darker sides of imperialism may be its most pernicious legacy.

Slave Empire: How Slavery Built Modern Britain by Padraic X Scanlan 

Padraic Scanlan’s engrossing and powerful, detailed exposition of how Britain profited from slavery for 200 years, and then used its abolition to justify another century or more of imperial violence and capitalist exploitation.

Scanlan's study is propelled by a similar frustration with the myths of Britain’s supposedly glorious imperial heritage

It’s a different kind of book: straight history, no memoir, a scholarly rather than a journalistic argument. Yet it’s propelled by a similar, urgent frustration with the amnesiac myths of Britain’s supposedly glorious imperial heritage.


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