This is a very long – 777 pages – but very important book. Subtitled “A History of the British Empire”, it not only exposes the violence on which the Empire was built but also reveals the way in which systematic attempts were made to conceal it from journalists and historians. Caroline Elkins, based at Harvard University, is one of the historians who were determined to reveal the truth. She is not inhibited about naming those historians who have accepted the Colonial Office version of past […]
The story of how we came to have this Empire is a wonderful tale of adventure and romance Major General Baden-Powell in Scouting for Boys Many children’s ‘classics’, some still in print, glorify the British Empire. In this essay, Colin Thomas argues that they help to perpetuate racist attitudes which only recent children’s books have begun to challenge.
If the reader has had a public school education then this book is probably ‘a huge enjoyable read’ as recommended by one reviewer, on the other hand if the reader is a member of the majority of the British population who have not had the same educational advantage of the public school, then they are more likely to agree with the reviewer who labelled this book as ‘an enraged polemic’, and to empathise totally with the author. The history of public schools is described from the fourteenth century […]
Not A BRHG Event
Time Stood Still: The Internment of Civilians at Lofthouse Park Camp near Wakefield, 1914-18 Claudia Sternberg talks about Lofthouse Park Camp which held nearly 3,000 German and Austrian-Hungarian civilian and military prisoners during the First World War and was in use until the last officers left Yorkshire in December 1919. This talk focuses on the experience of the civilian internees and shares some of the official and personal stories that were brought to light in the collaborative British […]
A rare chance to see the 1986 Channel 4 documentary that explored the clash between British forces and the left-wing Greek Resistance against the Nazi occupation in 1944, which led to the 'Battle for Athens' and into a bitter three year Civil War. The defeated Greeks fled into exile and waited more than 30 years for the PASOK Amnesty in 1982 that allowed them to return home. In the documentary they tell their story for the first time, alongside the British protagonists. The British Establishment […]
This year is seeing a veritable frenzy of spectaculars encouraging the sad old supremecist idea that Being British is something to be jolly well/fucking proud of, what with all our institutions and history and achievements. Our diversity in particular has been cited as a significant reason we got lumbered with the Olympics and the French didn't. Anybody wishing to read something that presents a less uncritical evaluation of these ideas and an unsanitised history of some of the "achievements" […]