The Shadows of Empire: How Imperial History Shapes Our World

Samir Puri. Pegasus, $28.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-64313-668-4
Puri, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, debuts with a well-informed yet disjointed account of how the legacy of imperialism influences modern-day global affairs. He sketches America’s ambiguous relationship with imperialism from the founders’ anticolonialist principles to the country’s emergence as a global policeman in the second half of the 20th century, and details how Britain benefits financially and culturally from its legacy of empire, yet exists in a post-empire malaise that overshadows many of its recent accomplishments. Turning to the reemergence of Russia’s imperial ambitions, Puri documents Vladimir Putin’s efforts to reassert the country’s geographic and cultural dominance through incursions into Ukraine and other former Soviet territories. Unfortunately, Puri’s lucid insights into the roots of modern-day Hindu nationalism in India, for instance, are somewhat obscured by his tendency to meander through the history and contemporary politics of each country he surveys, and the book’s central argument often falls out of focus. Though Puri’s knowledge of world affairs impresses, readers looking for an actionable guide to overcoming the long shadow of imperialism will be disappointed. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/13/2020
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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