Cities of Empire The British Colonies and the Creation of the Urban World

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 11/25/2014
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books
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An original history of the most enduring colonial creation, the city, explored through ten portraits of powerful urban centers the British Empire left in its wake

At its peak, the British Empire was an urban civilization of epic proportions, leaving behind a network of cities which now stand as the economic and cultural powerhouses of the twenty-first century. In a series of ten vibrant urban biographies that stretch from the shores of Puritan Boston to Dublin, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Liverpool, and beyond, acclaimed historian Tristram Hunt demonstrates that urbanism is in fact the most lasting of Britain's imperial legacies.

Combining historical scholarship, cultural criticism, and personal reportage, Hunt offers a new history of empire, excavated from architecture and infrastructure, from housing and hospitals, sewers and statues, prisons and palaces. Avoiding the binary verdict of empire as "good" or "bad," he traces the collaboration of cultures and traditions that produced these influential urban centers, the work of an army of administrators, officers, entrepreneurs, slaves, and renegades. In these ten cities, Hunt shows, we also see the changing faces of British colonial settlement: a haven for religious dissenters, a lucrative slave-trading post, a center of global hegemony.

Lively, authoritative, and eye-opening, Cities of Empire makes a crucial new contribution to the history of colonialism.

Author Biography

Tristram Hunt is the author of Marx’s General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels and Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City. One of Britain’s leading young historians, he writes regularly for The Guardian, The Observer, and The Times, and has broadcast numerous series for the BBC. A lecturer in history at the University of London, Hunt represents Stoke-on-Trent in the British Parliament, where he serves as the education spokesman for the Labour Party.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi
List of Maps xvii
Acknowledgements xix

Introduction 3
1 Boston 19
2 Bridgetown 64
3 Dublin 104
4 Cape Town 141
5 Calcutta 183
6 Hong Kong 223
7 Bombay 261
8 Melbourne 303
9 New Delhi 345
10 Liverpool 382

Bibliography 417
Notes 445
Index 485

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