Linda Colley introduced by Sunil Khilnani

 

Ranging over a quarter of a millennium and four continents, Captives uncovers the experiences and writings of those tens of thousands of men and women who took part in Britain’s rise to imperial pre-eminence but who got caught and caught out. Here are the stories of Sarah Shade, a camp follower imprisoned alongside defeated British legions in Southern India; of Joseph Pitts, white slave and pilgrim to Mecca; of Florentia Sale, captive and diarist in Afghanistan; of those individuals who crossed the cultural divide and switched identities, like the Irishman George Thomas; and of others who made it back, like the one-time Chippewa warrior and Scot, John Rutherford. Linda Colley uses these tales of ordinary individuals trapped in extraordinary encounters to reevaluate the character and diversity of the British Empire and how these captivities illuminate the limits of Britain’s global power over time as well as its extent.