The British Empire, one of the most powerful forces in history, was also one of the most humane. Yet at its twilight, few were willing to defy the anti-colonial reaction that condemned millions to despotism under the regimes that replaced it. Sir Alan Burns was among them.
In this lively and provocative work of history, Bruce Gilley vindicates Sir Alan’s view that decolonization was poorly managed and too swiftly executed, a view based not on imperialist nostalgia but on a sober assessment of the ravages of the twentieth century.
Gilley demonstrates that Burns understood the benefits of colonial rule and correctly foretold the chaos that accompanied its rapid dissolution.
Relying on previously unavailable documentation from Burns’s family, The Last Imperialist dethrones the revisionist historians and shatters their unbalanced accusations against European colonialism. This is history writing at its most courageous.