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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.

Reviews

  • “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.”

Blog

  • Steve McQueen plans film about Paul Robeson as follow-up to 12 Years a Slave

    Renowned artist and film-maker Steve McQueen has announced that the follow-up to his Oscar award-winning 12 Years a Slave will be a biopic of Paul Robeson. McQueen descibed the film as his dream project, stating that he originally wanted to produce a film about Robeson after Hunger, Mcqueen's debut film about Bobby Sands and the 1981 Irish hunger strike.

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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. 

    Based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 documentary, 12 Years a Slave takes an unflinching look at the story of a free black man from New York who is abducted and sold into slavery.

    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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  • Radically Independent: A Fourth of July Reading List



    The workingmen of Europe feel sure that...the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy. 
    
— Karl Marx and the First International Workingmen’s Association to Abraham Lincoln, 1864

    Today marks two hundred and thirty eight years on from the Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson and others. It was Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense, published in The Rights of Man and Common Sense, which inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. In clear, simple language it explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence.  The passionate cry for independence continues to this day, with the recent call for a Scottish independence.

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Other books by Richard Gott