Ghosts of Empire by Kwasi Kwarteng
Britain's Legacies in the Modern World

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Kwarteng is critical but not patronizing, allowing the reader to grasp the motivations of the British while simultaneously seeing the shortcomings of their decisions.
-NY Times

Synopsis

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.

 

About Kwasi Kwarteng

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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.
 
Published February 7, 2012 by PublicAffairs. 488 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Ghosts of Empire
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Isaac Chotiner on Mar 02 2012

Kwarteng is critical but not patronizing, allowing the reader to grasp the motivations of the British while simultaneously seeing the shortcomings of their decisions.

Read Full Review of Ghosts of Empire: Britain's L... | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Andrew Roberts on Feb 10 2012

Mr. Kwarteng is an engaging writer, and his pen portraits of British imperialists are subtle and scholarly.

Read Full Review of Ghosts of Empire: Britain's L... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Reader Rating for Ghosts of Empire
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