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8 December 1994
Colonising the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in 19th-Century India 
by David Arnold.
California, 354 pp., £40, September 1993, 0 520 08124 2
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Public Health in British India: Anglo-Indian Preventive Medicine 1815-1914 
by Mark Harrison.
Cambridge, 324 pp., £19.95, March 1994, 0 521 44127 7
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... On the outskirts of most Indian cities you still encounter the war graves of imperialism: the melancholy, unvisited Christian cemeteries which contain the serried ranks of monuments commemorating British subjects and their children buried there during the days of the Raj. Perhaps it is not surprising, or particularly shocking, that it was fear for European rather than Indian lives which drove the growth ...

It takes a village

C.A. Bayly: Henry Maine

14 July 2011
Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism 
by Karuna Mantena.
Princeton, 269 pp., £27.95, March 2011, 978 0 691 12816 0
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... If, around 1880, an educated person in Britain had been asked to list the most important intellectuals of the previous generation, he or she might well have mentioned, alongside Darwin and John Stuart Mill, the name of Sir Henry Maine, the subject of Karuna Mantena’s valuable new study. His name isn’t heard much anymore, but in his own day Maine (1822-88) was regarded as a towering public intellectual ...

Hybridity

Colin Kidd: The Invention of Globalisation

2 September 2004
Birth of the Modern World 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons 
by C.A. Bayly.
Blackwell, 568 pp., £65, January 2004, 0 631 18799 5
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... contacts and entanglements. Now historians, however cautiously insular, can at last see how a nuanced, historical response to Fukuyama and Huntington might run. For, though it ends in 1914, Chris Bayly’s erudite and engrossing account of the global birthpangs of modernity is not only a landmark contribution to historical literature but, indirectly and without a hint of overt engagement, a ...

Trying to Make Decolonisation Look Good

Bernard Porter: The End of Empire

2 August 2007
Britain’s Declining Empire: The Road to Decolonisation, 1918-68 
by Ronald Hyam.
Cambridge, 464 pp., £17.99, February 2007, 978 0 521 68555 9
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The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire 
by Peter Clarke.
Allen Lane, 559 pp., August 2007, 978 0 7139 9830 6
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Forgotten Wars: The End of Britain’s Asian Empire 
by Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper.
Allen Lane, 673 pp., £30, January 2007, 978 0 7139 9782 8
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...  or at least getting to the bottom of – only one side of the story. Hyam would probably acknowledge this. ‘The end of empire is not a pretty thing if examined too closely,’ as Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper put it in their two-volume history of Britain’s colonial wars in India and South-East Asia from the 1940s to 1963, which forms the perfect complement to Hyam’s work.* It was ...
7 December 1989
The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, 1688-1788 
by John Brewer.
Unwin Hyman, 289 pp., £28, April 1989, 0 04 445292 6
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Cambridge in the Age of the Enlightenment: Science, Religion and Politics from the Restoration to the French Revolution 
by John Gascoigne.
Cambridge, 358 pp., £32.50, June 1989, 0 521 35139 1
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Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World 
by C.A. Bayly.
Longman, 295 pp., £16.95, June 1989, 0 582 04287 9
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... the British state refurbished its image rather than its internal government: and a crucial part of that refurbishment was a new concentration on imperial aggrandisement and imperial ideology. C.A.Bayly’s Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World 1780-1830 is the first detailed study of how the British reconstructed their empire after the loss of the American colonies since Vincent ...

Bloody Glamour

Tim Parks: Giuseppe Mazzini

30 April 2009
Giuseppe Mazzini and the Globalisation of Democratic Nationalism 1830-1920 
edited by C.A. Bayly and Eugenio Biagini.
Oxford, 419 pp., £45, September 2008, 978 0 19 726431 7
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... On 22 February 1854, James Buchanan, then the American ambassador in London but soon to be president of the US, celebrated George Washington’s birthday with a dinner to which Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi were invited. At Mazzini’s request other leading revolutionaries were present: Kossuth (Hungary), Worcell (Poland), Ruge (Germany), Herzen (Russia) and Ledru-Rollin (France). Together ...

Wide-Angled

Linda Colley: Global History

26 September 2013
The French Revolution in Global Perspective 
edited by Suzanne Desan, Lynn Hunt and William Max Nelson.
Cornell, 240 pp., £16.50, April 2013, 978 0 8014 7868 0
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... their methodology. Head counts, after all, are scarcely the whole story. Two of the most significant works produced on global history in recent years, The Birth of the Modern World 1780-1914 by C.A.Bayly and Jürgen Osterhammel’s Die Verwandlung der Welt: Eine Geschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts (soon to be available in English translation), were both written by scholars based in Europe. Yet in general ...

Watch this man

Pankaj Mishra: Niall Ferguson’s Burden

3 November 2011
Civilisation: The West and the Rest 
by Niall Ferguson.
Allen Lane, 402 pp., £25, March 2011, 978 1 84614 273 4
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... legitimacy of the American empire. He was convinced that domestic social welfare programmes like Medicare and Medicaid had to be cut drastically in order to build more foreign outposts for jodhpur-clad Americans. But Americans, it turned out, were not rushing to Abercrombie & Fitch to equip themselves for life in the tropics. Some zealous young Republicans in Baghdad’s Green Zone were busy ...

Shoot them to be sure

Richard Gott: The Oxford History of the British Empire

25 April 2002
The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. I: The Origins of Empire 
edited by William Roger Louis and Nicholas Canny.
Oxford, 533 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924676 9
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. II: The 18th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and P.J. Marshall.
Oxford, 639 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924677 7
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. III: The 19th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Andrew Porter.
Oxford, 774 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924678 5
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. IV: The 20th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Judith Brown.
Oxford, 773 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924679 3
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. V: Historiography 
edited by William Roger Louis and Robin Winks.
Oxford, 731 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924680 7
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... history of genocidal expropriation of Aboriginal Australians’. These are welcome contributions, yet neither writer can explain why these issues are so neglected in the earlier volumes. C.A.Bayly, the Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History at Cambridge, dismisses as ‘fashionable’ or ‘anachronistic’ issues that have agitated Imperial historians for the past twenty ...

Umbrageousness

Ferdinand Mount: Staffing the Raj

6 September 2017
Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India 
by Shashi Tharoor.
Hurst, 295 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 84904 808 8
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The Making of India: The Untold Story of British Enterprise 
by Kartar Lalvani.
Bloomsbury, 433 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 1 4729 2482 7
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India Conquered: Britain’s Raj and the Chaos of Empire 
by Jon Wilson.
Simon & Schuster, 564 pp., £12.99, August 2017, 978 1 4711 0126 7
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... rulers were able to extort.’ Though India was abounding in natural resources, would-be Indian industrialists like the Tata family were repeatedly baulked from setting up steel mills or digging coal mines. In the British view, India’s destiny was to remain what Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson called in Why Nations Fail (2012) an ‘extractive colony’. The Raj was seen at its worst in the ...

Diary

Amit Chaudhuri: In Calcutta

19 May 2011
... for more than a century India’s most prestigious centre of higher education. Earlier, at the end of the 18th century, Raja Ram Mohun Roy, a Bengali scholar, had made the leap, as the historian C.A.Bayly has pointed out, from being a ‘late Mughal state intellectual’ to the ‘first Indian liberal’. Roy’s legacy is evident in the religious, social and intellectual reforms in 19th-century ...

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