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EmpireWorld by Sathnam Sanghera

A Book Review by Network Member, Anna R. Fitzpatrick




A nuanced journey through Britain's past – an easy and informative read

 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting and accessible view of Britain’s past and its impact across the globe. Sathnam Sanghera weaves his individual journey of discovery travelling to various ex-colonies in a very personal, sometimes amusing, sometimes cynical but always illuminating way.

 

Some parts of the book are genuinely astonishing – he must have a brain the size of a planet to bring it all together. Having been trained at the Financial Times to double-source all information the notes and references are impeccable – and page footnotes are all illuminating.

 

At times I had to put the book down and rest for a day or two as I was triggered at unexpected points – the British treatment of first nations communities in the lands now called Australia made especially difficult reading for me. I learned a lot in an easy read.

 

Along with his previous book EmpireLand Sathnam has done more than most to raise the profile of an imperial past that many people in the UK don’t know about or choose to ignore. He eschews the balance sheet treatment of Empire in favour of a nuanced and considered approach to the subject which is refreshing.

 

Buy the book or get it at your library – although if you like taking notes and underlining – maybe buy it. Totally worth reading.

 

Anna R FitzPatrick, March 2024

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