Charlotte Lydia Riley

Sep 15, 2023

Imperial Island

An Alternative History of the British Empire

Penguin 2023

Can Britain escape from being a nation trapped in its past? In Imperial Island: A History of Empire in Modern Britain (Penguin, 2023), Charlotte Lydia Riley, an Associate Professor of History in the Department of History at the University of Southampton, and co-host of the Tomorrow Never Knows podcast explores the history of Britain as an imperial nation, both at home and abroad. The book shows how it is impossible to separate the history of post-war Britain from the history of empire, even as contemporary politics demands we misremember or deliberately forget. Moving chronologically from the 1940s to the present, but drawing on a wealth of themes and ideas, the book makes a compelling case for rethinking British, and global, identities in light of a reckoning with the role of empire in shaping society. An important historical and popular intervention, the book will be read widely beyond arts and humanities, and is essential reading for anyone keen to better understand the history of both Britain and the world today.

Dave O'Brien is Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Manchester.

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