Empire of Crime
Organised Crime in the British Empire
When Britain banned the lucrative export of opium from Imperial India to China, organized criminals were quick to develop an illegal trade in narcotics. Using government files and personal letters Tim Newark reveals the extent to which gangsters exploited global trade routes, including those made secure by the British Empire itself, and how they became the setting for a turf war involving Shanghai smugglers, American drugbusters and Afghan criminal gangs.
Enemy on the Euphrates
The British Occupation of Iraq and the Great Arab Revolt 1914–1921
During the First World War the need for oil was central to Britain’s continuing occupation of Mesopotamia (present day Iraq). This book presents a full account of the Arab uprising between July 1920 and February 1921, which came very close to defeating the occupying British.
The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books
Young Columbus and the Quest for a Universal Library
Christopher Columbus’s illegitimate son Hernando Colón dreamed of creating a universal library to rival his father’s achievement by bringing order to the vast amount of information that was becoming available in the burgeoning age of print. This biography follows Hernando on travels with his father in the New World; on visits to the great European figures of the age; and on his quest to assemble, organize and catalogue an unprecedented collection of 15,000 books, ephemera, printed images and music.
Ribbons Among the Rajahs
A History of British Women in India Before the Raj
During the 18th and early 19th centuries, legions of women made the long, costly and hazardous journey to India, some accompanying husbands, others seeking a husband or employment, others still from a sense of adventure; but while the women of the Raj are familiar from literature, these pioneers are generally forgotten. Between the voyage out and their deaths in India, Patrick Wheeler’s social history offers an account of everyday life for these ‘Indian British’ women during the pre-imperial era.
We Die Like Brothers
The Sinking of the SS Mendi
On a foggy morning in 1917, a large British mail ship travelling dangerously fast off the Isle of Wight collided with SS Mendi, a steamship carrying more than 600 members of the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLAC). The Mendi sank in 20 minutes, leaving few survivors. Drawing on recent archeological evidence from the wreck, the book reconsiders this terrible tragedy and tells the story of the SANLAC in the British war effort.
Imperial Boundary Making
The Diary of Captain Kelly and the Sudan-Uganda Boundary Commission of 1913
Written during the Sudan-Uganda Boundary Commission’s 1913 expedition by its leader, Harry Kelly, this day-by-day account gives rare insights into how imperial boundaries were drawn, and into the indigenous peoples encountered.
The English Assault on the New World, 1497–1630
English colonizing efforts in North America were painfully unsuccessful in comparison with Spain's empire-building further south. Investigating the reasons for England's slow progress, Childs uses primary sources to examine vessels and voyages from Cabot's Matthew in 1497 to Winthrop's fleet in 1630; the unrealistic ambitions of promoters like Ralegh; the nature of the conflict with Native Americans; and the lack of leadership and co-operation that doomed English attempts to settle on the American coast to failure.
How British Aristocrats Staked a Claim to the American West 1830–1890
From the 1830s onwards, a succession of British aristocrats headed for the American West, taking with them their valets, their dogs – and their prejudices. This sparkling account describes the newcomers' experiences as they crossed the country to meet Native Americans, hunt buffalo and build cattle empires. Packed with lively incident and colourful personalities, it also charts their reception by Americans often less than pleased at the return of their former colonial overlords.
My African Journey
Winston Churchill toured the British territories in East Africa in 1907, when he was Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, and his account of the journey reflects his serious interest in Africa, beyond the natural beauties of the landscape and the thrill of big-game hunting. His thoughts on settlement, race, government and, in particular, the role of the railways provide an intriguing insight into early 20th-century imperialism and African history. First published in 1909.
Bringers of War
The Portuguese in Africa during the Age of Gunpowder and Sail
Long before steamships and machine-tooled artillery, the Portuguese established an empire in Africa, capturing trading towns, seizing slaves and plundering mineral riches. This history describes how, between the 15th and the late 18th centuries, they fought their ancient Muslim foes, overthrew African kingdoms and resisted Dutch, Omani and Ottoman rivals in a quest for wealth and power as ruthless as the Spanish conquests in the Americas.