How did empire shape modern Britain?
Charlotte Lydia Riley argues that 20th-century Britain was shaped by an imperial mindset, even as its empire began to disintegrate
Across the 20th century, Britain’s empire reached a peak and then began to disintegrate. Yet, according to historian Charlotte Lydia Riley, the country continued to be indelibly shaped by an imperial mindset even despite decolonisation, as evidenced in everything from institutions and immigration to philanthropy and foreign policy. Charlotte speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about her new book Imperial Island, which traces the impact of empire on 20th-century Britain, and questions how we can best deal with its legacy today.
Charlotte Lydia Riley is the author of Imperial Island: A History of Empire in Modern Britain (Bodley Head, 2023)
Ellie Cawthorne is HistoryExtra’s podcast editor. She also contributes to BBC History Magazine, runs the podcast newsletter and hosts several live and virtual BBC History Magazine events.
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