Britain's Empire: Resistance, Repression and Revolt

Magisterial history of the foundation of the British empire, and the forgotten story of resistance to its formation.
Contrary to nationalist legend and schoolboy history lessons, the British Empire was not a great civilizing power bringing light to the darker corners of the earth. Richard Gott’s magisterial work recounts the empire’s misdeeds from the beginning of the eighteenth century to the Indian Mutiny, spanning the red-patched imperial globe from Ireland to Australia, telling a story of almost continuous colonialist violence. Recounting events from the perspective of the colonized, Gott unearths the all-but-forgotten stories excluded from mainstream British histories.


  • “Vivid and startling ... Gott's achievement is to show, as no historian has done before, that violence was a central, constant and ubiquitous part of the making and keeping of the British Empire. ”
  • “His message is stark but Gott is never shrill. He writes as a scholar, not an accuser. ”
  • “A welcome, even necessary, corrective. ”
  • “Stimulating, inspirational and much needed. ”
  • “Pungent and provocative ... a rich compendium of revolt. ”
  • “A tour de force.”


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  • 12 Years a Slave: Verso’s essential reading list on slavery and race relations

    This month sees the UK cinema release of Steve McQueen’s brilliant and brutal new film, 12 Years a Slave. McQueen has been vocal in condemning cinema’s wariness in confronting the subjects of slavery and race, and his film has galvanized a new interest in the unspeakably ugly period in American history. 

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    Verso has long held a commitment to telling similar stories, and we now present a selection of books as the essential starting point for those looking to learn more about the roots, events and legacies of slavery and racial tensions in America and the world.

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Other books by Richard Gott