Inglorious Empire: What the British did to India

Inglorious Empire: What the British did to India 1

by Shashi Tharoor

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 31/07/2017

4/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $32.99 $25.78

Tells the real story of the British in India 

-from the arrival of the East India Company to the end of the Raj - and reveals how Britain's rise was built upon its plunder of India.

In the eighteenth century, India's share of the world economy was as large as Europe's. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die from starvation.

British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor takes on and demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial 'gift' - from the railways to the rule of law - was designed in Britain's interests alone.

He goes on to show how Britain's Industrial Revolution was founded on India's deindustrialisation, and the destruction of its textile industry.

In this bold and incisive reassessment of colonialism, Tharoor exposes to devastating effect the inglorious reality of Britain's stained Indian legacy.


‘Rare indeed is it to come across history that is so readable and so persuasive.’AMITAV GHOSH

‘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

‘Tharoor convincingly demolishes some of the more persistent myths about Britain’s supposedly civilising 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

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

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

‘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

‘Eloquent … a well-written riposte to those texts that celebrate empire as a supposed “force for good”.’ BBC WORLD HISTORIES ‘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

‘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

British & Irish history
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Scribe Publications
Country of origin:
Dimensions (mm):
Shashi Tharoor

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.

This item is in stock at our Sydney warehouse and you can expect to receive your order in 4 working days or less for most Australian capitals. We send it to you via the Australia Post eParcel service, which includes online tracking. Please check below to see indicative delivery timeframes for your area.

Delivered to:

NSW Metro: 2 - 4 working days.
NSW Regional: 3 - 5 working days.
VIC & SA Metro: 2 - 4 working days.
VIC & SA Regional: 3 - 5 working days.
QLD Metro: 3 - 5 working days.
QLD Regional: 8 - 14 working days.
TAS: 3 - 5 working days.
WA Metro: 5 - 7 working days.
WA Regional: 6 - 9 working days.
NT Metro: 6 - 8 working days.
NT Regional: 8 - 14 working days.

This item can also be shipped via express post. If all the items in your cart list "In-Stock 2-4 days" then you can select for your order to be shipped via Express Post. Your order will be shipped the next business day, and delivery will be the following business day, if you are within Australia Post's Next Day Delivery Network.

This includes:

NSW - Sydney, Gosford, Newcastle, Wollongong.
VIC - Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo.
ACT - Canberra.
SA - Adelaide.
QLD - Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast.
TAS - Hobart, Launceston.
WA - Perth CBD postcode 6000 only.
NT - Express Post is not available.

Customer Reviews

Average Rating

4 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • The Real Story of the British Empire

    by on

    Various other books had already removed any illusions about the so-called "Civilising British Empire". But this added to one`s horror at the degree of the exploitation and destruction that was the main attribute of the British Empire, especially in lands populated by supposedly inferior non-white peoples. It absolutely disgusts one to think of all those British and Australian young men sent to slaughter in WW1 believing they were fighting for just causes, when in fact the British Government was fighting its war to retain the right to exploit , torture and murder millions of people, not to mention to steal most of the Arab lands of the Ottoman Empire so they could then exploit even more people.