Empires and Colonies provides a thoroughgoing and lively exploration of the expansion of the seaborne empires of western Europe from the fifteenth century and how that process of expansion affected the world, including its successor, the United States. Whilst providing special attention to Europe, the book is careful to highlight the ambivalence and contradiction of that expansion. The book also illuminates connections between empires and colonies as a theme in history, concentrating on culture while also discussing the rich social, ecomic and political dimensions of the story. Furthermore, Empires and Colonies recognizes that whilst a study of the expansion of Europe is an important part of world history, it is t a history of the world per se. The focus on culture is used to assert that areas and peoples that lack great ecomic power at any given time also deserve attention. These alternative voices of slaves, indigeus peoples and critics of empire and colonization are an important and compelling element of the book. Empires and Colonies will be essential reading t only for students of imperial history, but also for anyone interested in the makings of our modern world.
Jonathan Hart is Professor of English, Director of Comparative Literature and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Alberta.