Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World

Front Cover
PublicAffairs, 2011 - History - 466 pages
3 Reviews
Kwasi Kwarteng is the child of parents whose lives were shaped as subjects of the British Empire, first in their native Ghana, then as British immigrants. He brings a unique perspective and impeccable academic credentials to a narrative history of the British Empire, one that avoids sweeping judgmental condemnation and instead sees the Empire for what it was: a series of local fiefdoms administered in varying degrees of competence or brutality by a cast of characters as outsized and eccentric as anything conjured by Gilbert and Sullivan.

The truth, as Kwarteng reveals, is that there was no such thing as a model for imperial administration; instead, appointees were schooled in quirky, independent-minded individuality. As a result the Empire was the product not of a grand idea but of often chaotic individual improvisation. The idosyncracies of viceroys and soldier-diplomats who ran the colonial enterprise continues to impact the world, from Kashmir to Sudan, Baghdad to Hong Kong.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Fledgist - LibraryThing

Kwarteng looks at several cases of British imperial policy. How did Britain involve itself in Iraq, Kashmir, Sudan, Nigeria, Hong Kong, and Burma, and what has this meant for these countries and the ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

While I'm not really a history book reader I wasn't sure about reading this after my wife borrowed it from the library.
After the first few pages I was hooked, a great account of the British empire full of detail. It gives you an in-depth insight of how the empire was actually run.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2011)

Kwasi Kwarteng was born in London to Ghanaian parents in 1975. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he won one of the University Classical Scholarships and graduated with a double first in Classics and History; and at Harvard University, where he spent a year as a Kennedy Scholar. He returned to Cambridge to complete a Ph.D in History, before working as an analyst for a hedge fund in London. He was recently elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament.

Bibliographic information