The Great Imperial Hangover: How Empires Have Shaped the World
Samir Puri,
Atlantic, £20

Few ideas have persisted throughout history as long as that of empire. From ancient to nomadic, from land-based to maritime, even modern conflicts such as that in Afghanistan are fought with memories of empires in mind.

Yet over the past two decades, a generation of writers such as Pankaj Mishra (From the Ruins of Empire) and Shashi Tharoor (Inglorious Empire) have cited empires, fuelled by colonialism, racism and exploitation, as a source of some of the world’s most stubborn challenges, including poverty, unemployment and climate change.

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