New Books Network

What Should We Think of the British Empire?

A Discussion with Jeremy Black

New Books Network 2019

Arguing HistoryNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network November 26, 2019 Charles Coutinho

The British Empire at its greatest extent covered approximately twenty-five percent of the surface of the globe with the same percentage of the world...

The British Empire at its greatest extent covered approximately twenty-five percent of the surface of the globe with the same percentage of the world so population under its rule, directly or indirectly. And, yet a little over one-hundred years after its apogee, with its fall made absolute by the process of de-colonization, the British Empire is still the subject of sharp debate. From those who argue that the empire was a ‘evil thing’, to those like Harvard Professor, Niall Ferguson who argue that on the contrary the empire was an instrument of liberty and commerce world-wide. In short an early harbinger of the late-twentieth century process that we call ‘globalization’. Hoping to shed some light on this most hazardous of subjects is Professor of History at Exeter University Jeremy Black and Dr. Charles Coutinho of the Royal Historical Society, in this episode of Arguing History, “What should we think of the British Empire?”

Professor Jeremy Black MBE, Is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. A graduate of Queens College, Cambridge, he is the author of well over one-hundred books. In 2008 he was awarded the “Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Lifetime Achievement.”


Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs.