The Anarchy: William Dalrymple

The Anarchy: William Dalrymple
The Anarchy: William Dalrymple

Principal speaker

William Dalrymple

We still talk about Britain conquering India. But that phrase disguises a much more sinister reality. It was not the British Government that seized India at the end of the 18th Century, but a dangerously unregulated private company, headquartered in one small office, five windows wide, and managed in India by an unstable sociopath, Clive. The transition to colonialism, the principle framing context for all the major historical questions about African and Asian societies over the last 200 years, took place through the mechanism of a for profit operation which existed entirely for the purpose of enriching investors.

William Dalrymple tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before, unfolding a timely cautionary tale of the first global corporate power and one of the most supreme acts of corporate violence in world history.

William Dalrymple is one of Britain's greatest historians and the author of the classic In Xanadu, the Wolfson Prize-winning White Mughals and the Hemingway Prize-winning Return of a King. A master of microhistories, William Dalrymple has turned his hand for the first time to macro-history in The Anarchy. A frequent broadcaster, he has written and presented three television series, one of which won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in 2002.

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