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Ten Cities that Made an Empire

Uploaded 26/06/2014

Tristram Hunt, author of The Frock-Coated Communist and leading UK politician presents a new approach to Britain's imperial past through ten cities that epitomised it. The final embers of the British Empire are dying, but its legacy remains in the lives and structures of the cities which it shaped. Here Tristram Hunt examines the stories and defining ideas of ten of the most important: of 1700s Boston, Bridgetown, Dublin, Cape Town, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Bombay, Melbourne, New Delhi, and 20th century Liverpool. Rejecting binary views of the British Empire as 'very good' or 'very bad', Hunt describes the complex processes of exchange and adaptation that collectively shaped the colonial experience – and, in turn, transformed the culture, economy and identity of the British Isles. Tristram Hunt is one of Britain's best known historians. Since 2010 he has been the MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, and in October 2013 was made Shadow Secretary of State for Education. He is a Senior Lecturer in Modern British History at Queen Mary, University of London, and has written numerous series for radio and television. He is also a regular contributor to The Times, Guardian and Observer. His previous books include The English Civil War at First Hand, Building Jerusalem, and The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels.

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