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We Need to Talk About the British Empire

Length: 3 hrs and 45 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (133 ratings)

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Summary

Making sense of the British Empire's legacy... through the stories of people who lived through it.

Through six intimate conversations with a new generation of writers and historians - journalist Afua Hirsch tries to break through old cliches, and unpick the true legacy of this complicated and difficult inheritance.

She speaks to leading figures in British culture today - from poet Benjamin Zephaniah to actress Diana Rigg, broadcaster Anita Rani to novelist Nadifa Mohamed - discovering vivid family stories of the people who made the Empire what it was. And she hears how its ripples continue to shape our lives, and sense of collective identity today: our attitudes and cultural values, the multicultural, multiracial population of the British Isles today, and the relationships that Britain has with other parts of the world.

A Somethin’ Else Production.

This is an Audible Original Podcast. Free for members. You can download all 6 episodes to your Library now.

©2019 Audible, Ltd. (P)2019 Audible, Ltd.

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very very interesting perspective

Beautifully compiled and so many important and very differing views. One is compelled to listen to each and every one of the six stories to get a balance.
It would be interesting to compare it to other collapsed empires.... Certainly Britain's legacy of trying their best to introduce law and order as fairly as possible (agreeably to their advantage initially) should be somewhat respected and not all ex colonials should be seen as greedy plundering ex slave traders.
I'm a third generation ex African colonial and I am proud of what my grand parents and parents achieved and stood for... Yes they had adventures and yes they had loyal proud staff but life was certainly no bed of roses and they did a thousand times more good for Africa than bad. Like Ms Rudd we are welcomed with open arms when we visit our old home bases to meet our old staff and their children. When are we coming back? Is the question most often asked.
The sad thing is that a relatively small proportion of Brits still treat a third generation Brit Jamaican in the same way he treats a proud Brit descendent who comes home!
Where is the pride gone?
Do we need another world war to pull the Commonwealth together? Hopefully not....and I tell my youngsters and their partners.....Oh but look ...you live in perhaps the world's most inter racial and amazing multi cultural country in the world..... But still you blame your forefathers and want everything on a silver plate handed out by your collapsing cash strapped social services departments......
Perhaps when we are all speaking Chinese we will look back and say.... Maybe the old generation Brits weren't so bad after all!?
Anyway..... I remain hopeful for Britain and the future and really hope this forum continues and we hear some more of the other varying stories of our old Empire. ...positive and negative!

6 people found this helpful

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high quality documentary

A good variety of people interviewed and fascinating reflections on the impact, in so many ways, of the British empire.

5 people found this helpful

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Important and well balanced

As someone who has no direct links to the empire but is affected by Brexit, the rise of nationalism and curious about areas of conflict and turbulence in the world today, I found this a fascinating listen. We need more of this; women and men from different backgrounds who are able to respectfully and share knowledge and perspective.

4 people found this helpful

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essential listening

absolutely compelling listening, I will recommend this podcast to everyone I know. Thank you for telling these stories. As a product of empire myself, they have been healing to hear.

3 people found this helpful

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truths people need to hear

i am a white british male,poor as far as britain and the north goes.most my family were either miners and military.I found this not eye opening as i always knew that the worlds history was a sad affair in most cases,if not all.But i belive its a subject that all those who call themselves british citizens need to hear...i just hope that there are plans for a second series..maybe touching on lets talk about the british empire again.so much to say and so little time to say it.
Anyway truly enjoyed it great narrative subject and deserves a 5 star for effort well done guys😁

2 people found this helpful

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everyone should hear this!

This is a history that should be shared across the British nation. Why is it not part of the National Curriculum?

1 person found this helpful

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A brilliant series

I found this a fascinating series that covered the way that the British Empire impacted on the lives of so many people. It contained a variety of personal stories that reflected the diversity of the Empire. It did not hold back from showing the overt racism, cruelty and stratification of the colonies. It covered the slave trade as well as the tragedy of the chaotic and disastrous partition of India in 1947.
It taught me a lot of history that was never covered in school.
Thoroughly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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eye opening

an excellence and I opening sobering view you of the British empire and it's legacy still in packs people across the globe to this very day an interesting inversion as we go through the process of brexit and interestingly feel the inversion of colonization as the UK suddenly Fields like it's been colonized the greatest thank you to all those the gay the story from the point of view of the bloodline of those colonized in the past

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Excellent Hidden British History

I loved these few episodes of gems on our ' hidden' British history and agreed with the narrator. Why do we not hear enough of British Colonism and the voices of the real people who shaped it's shores? There were so many countries and cultures that helped the Brtish. Why do we not hear enough of the wonderful and often harrowing stories from people who have carved lives in Britain? It's been a wonderful insight into what has made Britain so great. And what I believe would open so many British eyes to what made this island what it is today.

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Utterly refreshing

absolutely loved it. it's a big topic with lots of books and material already out there and this series was a fresh perspective. fantastic to hear from so many strong female voices too. highly recommend