The British Empire has generally been seen as a racist empire (most influentially in Edward Said's 'Orientalism'). While not wholly denying this, Cannadine, in his funny, often horrifying new book, suggests a different dynamic.
Once great swathes of the globe were coloured British imperial red. But how did its rulers hold this vast realm together? Taking an original approach to its history, David Cannadine shows that it was bizarre social snobberies lifted from domestic society that formed the heart of imperial ideology. Race played a part, but the British Empire was undoubtedly a class act.