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About the book
  • Published: 4 July 2013
  • ISBN: 9781448182336
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288


Britain’s Liberal Imperialist

The first biography of Thomas Macaulay, from child prodigy to imperial administrator in India and revered elder statesman and historian in Britain

Thomas Macaulay always inspired both admiration and hostility. He introduced English education to India, creating a class of westernised Indians often reviled as ‘Macaulay’s children’, but today many former ‘Untouchables’ literally worship him as their liberator from caste tyranny.

This biography gives a vivid insight into one of the towering intellects of Victorian Britain: a brilliant, complex, self-made man, who rose from middle-class origins to the highest circles of the world’s largest empire. We follow his meteoric journey from child prodigy to Whig parliamentary orator, then imperial administrator and liberal reformer in India, and later Cabinet minister, revered elder statesman and famed historian back in Britain.

Zareer Masani reclaims Macaulay as a pioneer of globalisation based on the English language and Western values. A strong advocate of liberal interventionism across the globe, he was the ideological precursor of today's Western military interventions in the world’s trouble-spots.

  • Pub date: 4 July 2013
  • ISBN: 9781448182336
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

About the Author

Zareer Masani

Zareer Masani is the author of Macaulay: Britain’s Liberal Imperialist. He has an Oxford history doctorate and is the author of three other historical books: Indira Gandhi: A Biography, Indian Tales of the Raj and India from Raj to Rajiv. He has also written a widely acclaimed family memoir, And All Is Said: Memoir of a Home Divided. He spent two decades as a current affairs producer for the BBC and is now a freelance historian, journalist and broadcaster.

Praise for Macaulay

“Engrossing…written with brio and verve”

Philip Collins, The Times

“Zareer Masani has captured the life, the essence, the dazzle and the enduring impact of the extraordinary Lord Macaulay in this masterpiece of concision and explanation. It's high time Macaulay was brought back to life for those who seek to understand modern India and a contemporary Britain shaped more than it knows by its nineteenth-century experience”

Peter Hennessy

“Brisk, well-written... Tightly argued”

The Economist


John Kampfner, Observer

“An elegant mixture of polemic and biography”

Ian Jack, Prospect

“Masani makes a powerful and lucid case for a British statesman who profoundly influenced the course of Indian history and whose influence survives today, a case that is bound to stir up controversy”

Mark Tully

“Zareer Masani is one of those rare historians who conveys insight and detail in a highly readable style as a result of of which his books are both thought-provoking and eye-opening”

Karan Thapar

“Writing with his customary elegance and insight, Masani goes beyond the stereotypes of Macaulay to show a difficult, complicated and very human man who, for better or worse, left his mark on both India and Britain. A thoroughly enjoyable and very welcome biography”

Margaret MacMillan

“Splendid and original”

Daniel Johnson, Standpoint

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