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British Imperial History

British Imperial History Book Cover

Press release issued: 19 December 2014

British Imperial History draws out the different theories and concepts that imperial historians have used to explain the expansion and contraction of the British empire, and the transformations it wrought upon Britain’s colonies and Britain itself. Explaining what he hoped to achieve with the volume, Simon Potter says:

‘I wanted to write a book that showed how the main currents in political, diplomatic, economic, social, cultural, and global history have reshaped our understandings of the British empire over the generations. I wanted to write something that was accessible to students, but that would also represent a serious engagement with a varied and complex historiography.  It was a challenging task, to simplify while also doing justice to an extremely rich body of historical writing. I’ve tried to write a book that shows where imperial history has come from, but also gives a sense of where it is heading. The recent shift towards global history offers some exciting new interpretations of the imperial past, but I argue that if we unthinkingly accept the “global turn” in its most radical form, then we risk forgetting many of the most important lessons that other types of imperial history have taught us.’

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