Britain as we know it is a direct product of our imperial past. And yet, empire is barely taught at school and continues to be a subject of both shame and glorification. Covering everything from our national habits to how we live – from the foundation of the NHS, to the nature of our racism, to our economic status and our wealth – Empireland argues that imperialism is everywhere, though we often choose not to see it. It is central to the way we think and conduct politics, from the distrust of intellectuals in public life, to the exceptionalism that inspired Brexit and our response to the COVID crisis. Sathnam Sanghera’s deeply impassioned, enlightening and unsettling book demonstrates that we see that we can only truly understand who we are by knowing who we were. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Sathnam Sanghera about his new book Empireland and how imperialism has shaped modern Britain.

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