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Writer's reads: Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

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Writer's reads: Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain
19 Mar
2021
Sathnam Sanghera is the author of The Boy with the Topknot, Marriage Material and Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain. Here he shares the works that have shaped his worldview 

the hungry empire

The Hungry Empire • Lizzie Collingham • 2017

This book wears its learning lightly – you feel like you’re being talked through interesting meals and foodstuffs, but you’re actually being proffered fascinating economics and history.

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Bloody foreigners

Bloody Foreigners • Robert Winder • 2004

Winder proffers a simple but powerful thesis: that Britain is a nation of immigrants. He reminds us that from our German royal family, to businesses created by Jews and Indians, we are, as a nation, in denial.

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Learning from the germans

Learning From the Germans • Susan Neiman • 2019

Neiman, who grew up in the American South, is a Jewish woman who has spent most of her adult life in Berlin. In this utterly original book, she compares how the USA and Germany have dealt with their histories of racism.

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The anarchy

The Anarchy • William Dalrymple • 2019

The East India Company was a strange organisation to say the least, beginning as a conventional international trading corporation but becoming an aggressive colonial power. Dalrymple does a peerless job of explaining it.

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The trader the owner the slave

The Trader, The Owner, The Slave • James Walvin • 2008

Coming in at just over 250 pages, this isn’t the longest book on slavery, but in efficiently telling the stories of three men – John Newton, Thomas Thistlewood and Black slave Olaudah Equiano – it’s the most accessible and powerful.

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Amritsar 1919

Amritsar 1919 • Kim Wagner • 2019

The most authoritative account of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and a powerful prism through which to get a real sense of the British Raj.

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Pax Britannica

The Pax Britannica Trilogy • Jan Morris • 1968

No other writer has written so elegantly about the complicated history of the British Empire. For me, it offers proof that you don’t always need to agree with a writer to admire them.

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Railways and the raj

Railways & The Raj • Christian Wolmar • 2017

Wolmar dismantles the lie at the heart of 1,000 documentaries – that the British bestowed railways on India in an act of benevolence.

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