Deny and Disavow
Revised and expanded, the second edition of Alan Lester's acclaimed analysis of changing attitudes to Empire. 'Deny and Disavow tackles the deliberate misrepresentations of recent calls for recognition and reform made by Black Lives Matter and other campaigning organisations, as well as the clear majority of historians working in the field. Lester intersperses an admirably dispassionate anatomy of the culture warriors’ various strategies to distance Britain from its own history with punchy ‘snapshot’ accounts of some of the key events and figures that are now, apparently, controversial ... I would recommend this book to all general readers interested in the current culture wars and the imperial history behind them.' Dr Ryan Hanley, University of Exeter.
Leading academics and commentators have welcomed Deny & Disavow:
“This concise, but invaluable, book provides insights into nineteenth-century views of empire which now animate twenty-first century culture wars, from Edward Colston's toppled statue to the Common Sense Group of Conservative MPs and Peers.”
Corrine Fowler, author and Professor of Postcolonial Literature at the University of Leicester.
“Deny & Disavow is an essential guide. Written by a man with three decades of experience of researching imperial history, and combining elements of memoir with travelogue, it is incredibly accessible, totally authoritative, and intensely readable. This country would be infinitely more sane if it were compulsory reading."
Sathnam Sanghera, award-winning author, columnist and feature writer for The Times.
"A hugely informative and highly readable takedown of the self-serving canards spread by Britain’s culture warriors on the question of empire. Lester takes us on a figurative stroll through Britain’s imperial history, past statues and stately homes, explaining why a challenging historical engagement is better than either shame or myths of glory."
Priyamvada Gopal, author of Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent and Professor of Postcolonial Studies in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge.
Deny & Disavow is essential reading for academics, journalists, students, politicians and all those who want to better understand today’s key polemics.