100 books like Empire, Incorporated

By Philip J. Stern,

Here are 100 books that Empire, Incorporated fans have personally recommended if you like Empire, Incorporated. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Tacky's Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

Christian R. Burset Author Of An Empire of Laws: Legal Pluralism in British Colonial Policy

From my list on the rise of the British Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a legal historian with a particular interest in eighteenth-century Britain and the United States. My research has investigated the history of arbitration, historical connections between law and politics, and changing attitudes to the rule of law. Since 2018, I’ve been a professor at Notre Dame Law School, where I teach courses in legal history, civil procedure, conflict of laws, and the rule of law.

Christian's book list on the rise of the British Empire

Christian R. Burset Why did Christian love this book?

The Seven Years’ War was a pivotal event in the formation of the British Empire, but histories of the conflict often omit a crucial battleground: Jamaica.

Starting in 1760, enslaved West Africans in Jamaica organized to throw off their captivity. Tacky’s Revolt, as the uprising became known, was the greatest slave rebellion the Atlantic world had yet seen. It was also linked to other, global struggles, both in Africa and between European empires.

In Tacky’s Revolt, Vincent Brown links these hyper-local and imperial stories. I found it particularly useful for understanding the complexities of race and ethnicity in the eighteenth-century British Caribbean. 

By Vincent Brown,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Tacky's Revolt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
Winner of the Frederick Douglass Book Prize
Winner of the Elsa Goveia Book Prize
Winner of the James A. Rawley Prize in the History of Race Relations
Winner of the P. Sterling Stuckey Book Prize
Winner of the Harriet Tubman Prize
Winner of the Phillis Wheatley Book Award
Finalist for the Cundill Prize

A gripping account of the largest slave revolt in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world, an uprising that laid bare the interconnectedness of Europe, Africa, and America, shook the foundations of empire, and reshaped ideas of race and popular belonging.

In the…


Book cover of The King's Peace: Law and Order in the British Empire

Christian R. Burset Author Of An Empire of Laws: Legal Pluralism in British Colonial Policy

From my list on the rise of the British Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a legal historian with a particular interest in eighteenth-century Britain and the United States. My research has investigated the history of arbitration, historical connections between law and politics, and changing attitudes to the rule of law. Since 2018, I’ve been a professor at Notre Dame Law School, where I teach courses in legal history, civil procedure, conflict of laws, and the rule of law.

Christian's book list on the rise of the British Empire

Christian R. Burset Why did Christian love this book?

The British Empire underwent a profound transformation in the eighteenth century—so much so that historians sometimes draw a line between the “first” and “second” British Empires.

One aspect of that transformation concerned how colonies were governed. Until the 1760s, most British colonies enjoyed strong legislatures, a limited role for the military in everyday life, and the protections of English law. That changed during the Age of Revolutions, as Britain embraced an increasingly autocratic style of colonial rule.

The King’s Peace charts this transformation in an engaging and accessible way by weaving its arresting case studies into an ambitious argument about how modern states exercise authority. It gave me a keen sense of how the empire could simultaneously feel fragile and crushingly strong.

By Lisa Ford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The King's Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How the imposition of Crown rule across the British Empire during the Age of Revolution corroded the rights of British subjects and laid the foundations of the modern police state.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the British Empire responded to numerous crises in its colonies, from North America to Jamaica, Bengal to New South Wales. This was the Age of Revolution, and the Crown, through colonial governors, tested an array of coercive peacekeeping methods in a desperate effort to maintain control. In the process these leaders transformed what it meant to be a British subject.

In the decades after…


Book cover of Virtuous Bankers: A Day in the Life of the Eighteenth-Century Bank of England

Christian R. Burset Author Of An Empire of Laws: Legal Pluralism in British Colonial Policy

From my list on the rise of the British Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a legal historian with a particular interest in eighteenth-century Britain and the United States. My research has investigated the history of arbitration, historical connections between law and politics, and changing attitudes to the rule of law. Since 2018, I’ve been a professor at Notre Dame Law School, where I teach courses in legal history, civil procedure, conflict of laws, and the rule of law.

Christian's book list on the rise of the British Empire

Christian R. Burset Why did Christian love this book?

Empire, Incorporated makes it clear that corporations mattered in shaping the British Empire. But how did they actually operate?

Virtuous Bankers offers a window into an ordinary workday at the Bank of England, one of the most important institutions in eighteenth-century England. In the process, the book provides new insights into the nature of public credit and the growth of the British state, as well as an engrossing introduction to everyday life in Georgian London. 

By Anne Murphy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Virtuous Bankers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An intimate account of the eighteenth-century Bank of England that shows how a private institution became "a great engine of state"

The eighteenth-century Bank of England was an institution that operated for the benefit of its shareholders-and yet came to be considered, as Adam Smith described it, "a great engine of state." In Virtuous Bankers, Anne Murphy explores how this private organization became the guardian of the public credit upon which Britain's economic and geopolitical power was based. Drawing on the voluminous and detailed minute books of a Committee of Inspection that examined the Bank's workings in 1783-84, Murphy frames…


Book cover of The Politics of Empire at the Accession of George III: The East India Company and the Crisis and Transformation of Britain's Imperial State

Christian R. Burset Author Of An Empire of Laws: Legal Pluralism in British Colonial Policy

From my list on the rise of the British Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a legal historian with a particular interest in eighteenth-century Britain and the United States. My research has investigated the history of arbitration, historical connections between law and politics, and changing attitudes to the rule of law. Since 2018, I’ve been a professor at Notre Dame Law School, where I teach courses in legal history, civil procedure, conflict of laws, and the rule of law.

Christian's book list on the rise of the British Empire

Christian R. Burset Why did Christian love this book?

Why did Britain’s empire take the form it did? It’s easy to assume that it all happened automatically—that Britain “conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind,” as the historian J.R. Seeley famously put it.

The Politics of Empire challenges that assumption, reconstructing the political movements and ideologies that led Britain to build a territorial empire in India—as well as the kinds of empire Britain chose not to build. 

By James M. Vaughn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Politics of Empire at the Accession of George III as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An important revisionist history that casts eighteenth-century British politics and imperial expansion in a new light

"An important book . . . . Vaughn has greatly added to our understanding of Britain's empire and politics."-Journal of Modern HIstory

In this bold debut work, historian James M. Vaughn challenges the scholarly consensus that British India and the Second Empire were founded in "a fit of absence of mind." He instead argues that the origins of the Raj and the largest empire of the modern world were rooted in political conflicts and movements in Britain. It was British conservatives who shaped the…


Book cover of The Vandemonian War

Kristyn Harman Author Of Aboriginal Convicts: Australian, Khoisan and Maori Exiles

From my list on the Frontier Wars fought downunder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Kristyn Harman is an award-winning researcher who successfully completed doctoral research investigating the circumstances in which at least ninety Australian Aboriginal men were transported as convicts within the Australian colonies following their involvement in Australia’s frontier wars. She has published extensively on historical topics, and currently lectures in History at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia. Having lived in both countries, Kristyn is fascinated by the different understandings that New Zealanders and Australians have of their nation’s respective pasts. She is particularly intrigued, if not perturbed, by the way in which most New Zealanders acknowledge their nation’s frontier wars, while many Australians choose to deny the wars fought on their country’s soil.

Kristyn's book list on the Frontier Wars fought downunder

Kristyn Harman Why did Kristyn love this book?

Van Diemen’s Land is the former name for the island at the bottom of Australia now called Tasmania. The British who invaded the island changed the colony’s name after the place became infamous. Not only was it home to the British Empire’s most feared convict stations, but it also had a fearsome reputation as the location of one of the most brutal genocides in the Empire’s history. Nick Brodie draws on extensive, yet previously ignored, archival documents to refute the long-standing myth that the Vandemonian War was fought between hapless convict shepherds at the far reaches of the island colony and the island’s Aboriginal inhabitants. He demonstrates instead how this significant conflict was an orchestrated campaign in which the Lieutenant-Governor of the colony used military and para-military forces to prosecute his war against Aboriginal people. Ultimately, the British won the Vandemonian War and then purposefully covered up the military nature…

By Nick Brodie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vandemonian War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Britain formally colonised Van Diemen's Land in the early years of the nineteenth century. Small convict stations grew into towns. Pastoralists moved in to the aboriginal hunting grounds. There was conflict, there was violence. But, governments and gentlemen succeeded in burying the real story of the Vandemonian War for nearly two centuries. The Vandemonian War had many sides and shades, but it was fundamentally a war between the British colony of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) and those Tribespeople who lived in political and social contradiction to that colony. In The Vandemonian War acclaimed history author Nick Brodie now exposes the…


Book cover of Empires Without Imperialism: Anglo-American Decline and the Politics of Deflection

Dillon S. Tatum Author Of Liberalism and Transformation: The Global Politics of Violence and Intervention

From my list on liberalism and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dillon Stone Tatum is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Francis Marion University. His research interests are on the history, development, and politics of liberal internationalism, international political theory, and critical security studies.

Dillon's book list on liberalism and politics

Dillon S. Tatum Why did Dillon love this book?

Over the past decade, there has been an enormous amount written about the “decline of global liberalism,” and particularly the so-called US-led liberal international order. Jeanne Morefield’s book Empires without Imperialism examines the nostalgia of liberal orders in comparing nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Britain and contemporary Anglo-American debates about liberalism and world politics. Morefield takes us through arguments from a diverse cast of characters including classicists like Alfred Zimmern and Donald Kagan, historians like Niall Ferguson, and political actors like Jan Smuts and Michael Ignatieff in order to understand how liberals draw on history as part of their political projects.

By Jeanne Morefield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empires Without Imperialism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The end of the Cold War ushered in a moment of nearly pure American dominance on the world stage, yet that era now seems ages ago. Since 9/11 many informed commentators have focused on the relative decline of American power in the global system. While some have welcomed this as a salutary development, outspoken proponents of American power-particularly neoconservatives-have lamented this turn of events. As Jeanne Morefield argues in Empires Without
Imperialism, the defenders of a liberal international order steered by the US have both invoked nostalgia for a golden liberal past and succumbed to amnesia, forgetting the decidedly illiberal…


Book cover of Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress

Sathnam Sanghera Author Of Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

From my list on the British Empire's impact on the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was in my 40s before I began exploring the topic of the British Empire. It came after I realised it explained so much about me (my Sikh identity, the emigration of my parents, my education) and so much about my country (its politics, psychology, wealth…) and yet I knew very little. It turned out that millions of people feel the same way… and I hope I provide an accessible introduction and summary of the massive topic. 

Sathnam's book list on the British Empire's impact on the world

Sathnam Sanghera Why did Sathnam love this book?

By her own admission, Morris was nostalgic about British Empire, and while I disagree with some of her conclusions, and she herself remarked that she was “ashamed” of the work before she died, there is no doubt that she penned the single best narrative of Britain’s imperial adventures.

No other writer has written so accessibly and elegantly about a complicated history that extended across five centuries.

For me, proof that you don’t always need to agree with a writer to admire them.

By James Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heaven's Command as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Great travel accounts.


Book cover of Colonizing Animals

Shira Shmuely Author Of The Bureaucracy of Empathy: Law, Vivisection, and Animal Pain in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain

From my list on getting familiar with multispecies history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination and emotional connection with animals have been lifelong. However, it wasn't until my second year as an undergrad student that I realized that human-animal relationship could be examined from philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives. Over the past couple of decades, the conversations around the roles of non-human animals in diverse cultural, social, and material contexts have coalesced under the interdisciplinary field known as Animal Studies. I draw upon this literature and use my training in law and PhD in the history of science to explore the ties between knowledge and ethics in the context of animal law.  

Shira's book list on getting familiar with multispecies history

Shira Shmuely Why did Shira love this book?

The newest publication on my list, this book offers future directions for researching the history of human-animal relations. 

Arguing against the Eurocentrism of animal history, the book brings in multiple species into the historical inquiry of colonial Myanmar. Saha explores colonized people's interspecies relationships, with a particular emphasis on commodification processes.

I recommend the book to those who are interested not only in a captivating analysis, but also in a thought-provoking theoretical discussion about the intersection of animal studies and postcolonial scholarship.  

By Jonathan Saha,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Colonizing Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Animals were vital to the British colonization of Myanmar. In this pathbreaking history of British imperialism in Myanmar from the early nineteenth century to 1942, Jonathan Saha argues that animals were impacted and transformed by colonial subjugation. By examining the writings of Burmese nationalists and the experiences of subaltern groups, he also shows how animals were mobilized by Burmese anticolonial activists in opposition to imperial rule. In demonstrating how animals - such as elephants, crocodiles, and rats - were important actors never fully under the control of humans, Saha uncovers a history of how British colonialism transformed ecologies and fostered…


Book cover of The Hungry Empire: How Britain's Quest for Food Shaped the Modern World

Troy Bickham Author Of Eating the Empire: Food and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain

From my list on food and empires in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of History at Texas A&M University and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  I teach and research broadly in the histories of Britain and its empire, North America, and the Atlantic world. I am the author of four books, including Making Headlines: The American Revolution as Seen through the British Press and The Weight of Vengeance: The United States, the British Empire, and the War of 1812. I am especially fascinated with how imperialism shape colonizers’ cultures.

Troy's book list on food and empires in history

Troy Bickham Why did Troy love this book?

Collingham has written multiple books on food and the British Empire, and this one is my favorite. Stretching from 1545 to 1996, each of the twenty chapters selects a historical meal, dissecting its ingredients and manner of preparation in order to explore the imperial forces and experiences that created it. Painstakingly research, each chapter is a standalone history.

By Lizzie Collingham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hungry Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*WINNER OF THE GUILD OF FOOD WRITERS BOOK AWARD 2018*

'This is a wholly pleasing book, which offers a tasty side dish to anyone exploring the narrative history of the British Empire', Max Hastings, Sunday Times

The glamorous daughter of an African chief shares a pineapple with a slave trader... Surveyors in British Columbia eat tinned Australian rabbit... Diamond prospectors in Guyana prepare an iguana curry...

In twenty meals The Hungry Empire tells the story of how the British created a global network of commerce and trade in foodstuffs that moved people and plants from one continent to another, re-shaping…


Book cover of The Bonds of Family: Slavery, Commerce and Culture in the British Atlantic World

Nicholas Radburn Author Of Traders in Men: Merchants and the Transformation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

From my list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the Atlantic slave trade since 2007, when I first studied the business papers of a Liverpool merchant who had enslaved over a hundred thousand people. I was immediately struck by the coldness of the merchant’s accounts. I was also drawn to the ways in which the merchant’s profit-motivated decisions shaped the forced migrations and experiences of their victims. I have subsequently extended my research to examine slave traders across the vastness of the Atlantic World. I'm also interested in the ways that the slave trade’s history continues to shape the modern world, from the making of uneven patterns of global economic development to such diverse areas as the financing of popular music. 

Nicholas' book list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated

Nicholas Radburn Why did Nicholas love this book?

As I extended my research beyond British merchants to examine slave traders elsewhere in the Atlantic World, I noticed that there has been surprisingly little written on the men who sold Africans arriving aboard the ships in the Americas.

Katie Donington’s examination of the Hibberts, perhaps the largest slave-trading family in the British Americas, is, therefore, a must-read for anyone wanting to know who drove the traffic. By studying the different members of the Hibbert clan on either side of the Atlantic, Donington demonstrates the centrality of women, both free and enslaved, to slaving merchants’ businesses.

She also reveals the paradoxical ways in which familial connections between merchants were crucial to the smooth functioning of the slave trade—a business premised on sundering family ties between enslaved people. 

By Katie Donington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bonds of Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Moving between Britain and Jamaica The bonds of family reconstructs the world of commerce, consumption and cultivation sustained through an extended engagement with the business of slavery. Transatlantic slavery was both shaping of and shaped by the dynamic networks of family that established Britain's Caribbean empire. Tracing the activities of a single extended family - the Hibberts - this book explores how slavery impacted on the social, cultural, economic and political landscape of Britain. It is a history of trade, colonisation, enrichment and the tangled web of relations that gave meaning to the transatlantic world. The Hibberts's trans-generational story imbricates…


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