Uncommon Wealth: Britain and the Aftermath of Empire (Paperback)

Uncommon Wealth: Britain and the Aftermath of Empire By Kojo Koram Cover Image
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WINNER OF THE PEN HESSELL-TILTMAN PRIZE 2023

Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing
Longlisted for the British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding
A Guardian Book of the Year

'Brilliantly arranged and rich with fresh insights' Akala

'A radical, beautifully written understanding of our history' Owen Jones

'You can't understand how Britain works today without reading it' Frankie Boyle

'A challenge to a nation living in the shadow of empire: reckon with your imperial past, or it will come back to bite you' Grace Blakeley

'This book should be part of the national curriculum' Ellie Mae O'Hagan

Britain didn't just put the empire back the way it had found it.

Uncommon Wealth is the little known and shocking history of how Britain treated its former non-white colonies after the end of empire. It is the story of how an interconnected group of British capitalists enabled horrific inequality across the globe, profiting in colonial Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. However, the greed unleashed in this era would boomerang, now leaving many ordinary Britons wondering where their own prosperity has gone. Ranging from Jamaica to Singapore, Ghana to Britain, this is a blistering account of how buried decisions of decades past are ravaging Britain today.

About the Author


Dr Kojo Koram is a lecturer at the School of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the editor of The War on Drugs and the Global Color Line. Prior to academia, Kojo worked in social welfare law, youth work and teaching. Kojo has written for the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Nation, Dissent,the New Statesman and Critical Legal Thinking.

Praise For…


Brilliantly arranged and rich with fresh insights, Uncommon Wealth reminds us how the forgotten stories of empire and decolonisation continue to impact our daily lives in Britain - and throughout the world - up to today.



Brilliantly arranged and rich with fresh insights, Uncommon Wealth reminds us how the forgotten stories of empire and decolonisation continue to impact our daily lives in Britain - and throughout the world - up to today.



A radical, beautifully written understanding of our history - ingeniously placing Britain's recent tumult into context

A radical, beautifully written understanding of our history - ingeniously placing Britain's recent tumult into context

You can't understand how Britain works today without reading it

You can't understand how Britain works today without reading it

Unflinching and lucidly written, Uncommon Wealth challenges everything you thought you knew about the British Empire and its legacy. This book should be part of the national curriculum

Unflinching and lucidly written, Uncommon Wealth challenges everything you thought you knew about the British Empire and its legacy. This book should be part of the national curriculum

A challenge to a nation living in the shadow of empire: reckon with your imperial past, or it will come back to bite you . . . Stirring, rigorous and readable

A challenge to a nation living in the shadow of empire: reckon with your imperial past, or it will come back to bite you . . . Stirring, rigorous and readable

Compelling and masterful . . . Perfectly timed for a moment when more are recognizing that the past is not past, the legacies of empire are profound, and another world is possible



Compelling and masterful . . . Perfectly timed for a moment when more are recognizing that the past is not past, the legacies of empire are profound, and another world is possible



Brilliant, illuminating, often surprising and shocking, Kojo Koram's careful and sensitive telling of the stories that so many of us do not know is a masterpiece



Brilliant, illuminating, often surprising and shocking, Kojo Koram's careful and sensitive telling of the stories that so many of us do not know is a masterpiece



An ambitious blend of history, memoir and current affairs - Koram's superb and combative account shows how Britain's near-past can explain its present predicament. A fascinating account of the British Empire written with an exciting blend of passion and scholarship

An ambitious blend of history, memoir and current affairs - Koram's superb and combative account shows how Britain's near-past can explain its present predicament. A fascinating account of the British Empire written with an exciting blend of passion and scholarship

Uncommon Wealth brilliantly exposes the imperial origins of much of Britain's contemporary crisis. Koram shows how the empire ordered overseas a structure of law, property, economic institutions and citizenship, which came home

Uncommon Wealth brilliantly exposes the imperial origins of much of Britain's contemporary crisis. Koram shows how the empire ordered overseas a structure of law, property, economic institutions and citizenship, which came home

By carefully dissecting the economic legacy of the British Empire, Koram has exposed some troubling home truths about the causes and effects of the very unequal world in which we live. A fascinating history, Koram's unique perspective sheds new light on an old problem



By carefully dissecting the economic legacy of the British Empire, Koram has exposed some troubling home truths about the causes and effects of the very unequal world in which we live. A fascinating history, Koram's unique perspective sheds new light on an old problem



A superb and vivid account of the ideas, laws and economic instruments that bind contemporary Britain to its long colonial history



A superb and vivid account of the ideas, laws and economic instruments that bind contemporary Britain to its long colonial history



Fantastic. Koram clearly and informatively details the links between the economic dependency imposed on Britain's former colonies after decolonisation and the crisis that 'Global Britain' now finds itself facing

Fantastic. Koram clearly and informatively details the links between the economic dependency imposed on Britain's former colonies after decolonisation and the crisis that 'Global Britain' now finds itself facing

A tour de force by one of the most brilliant young thinkers writing in Britain today . . . Urgent and relevant

A tour de force by one of the most brilliant young thinkers writing in Britain today . . . Urgent and relevant

A bold and brazen account of the economic afterlives of the British Empire

A bold and brazen account of the economic afterlives of the British Empire

A superb account of how Britain's present crisis is intimately intertwined with its imperial past . . . Empire shapes all our lives - whether we acknowledge it or not

A superb account of how Britain's present crisis is intimately intertwined with its imperial past . . . Empire shapes all our lives - whether we acknowledge it or not

With lucidity, clarity and global sweep, Koram diagnoses the predicament of today's Britain . . . A vital read

With lucidity, clarity and global sweep, Koram diagnoses the predicament of today's Britain . . . A vital read

A clear-eyed assessment of some of the British Empire's least acknowledged legacies - offshoring, outsourcing, the unchecked sovereignty of corporations - which are now reverberating back on Britain and shredding the social fabric of British life. In the Covid era, this is essential reading

A clear-eyed assessment of some of the British Empire's least acknowledged legacies - offshoring, outsourcing, the unchecked sovereignty of corporations - which are now reverberating back on Britain and shredding the social fabric of British life. In the Covid era, this is essential reading

Explores the ricocheting effects of colonialism in Britain, tracing the role of empire - and its disintegration - in the rise of contemporary austerity, inequality, poverty, brutality, corruption, and the cartoon sovereignty of Brexit

Explores the ricocheting effects of colonialism in Britain, tracing the role of empire - and its disintegration - in the rise of contemporary austerity, inequality, poverty, brutality, corruption, and the cartoon sovereignty of Brexit

Uncommon Wealth makes a very powerful argument that today's privatization, outsourcing, and offshoring of finance to tax havens is a boomeranging back to the United Kingdom of policies first imposed on post-colonial nations

Uncommon Wealth makes a very powerful argument that today's privatization, outsourcing, and offshoring of finance to tax havens is a boomeranging back to the United Kingdom of policies first imposed on post-colonial nations

Rigorous, urgent and brilliantly written. This book lays bare the human cost - then and now - of Britain's colonial economic history and demands that we never forget it

Rigorous, urgent and brilliantly written. This book lays bare the human cost - then and now - of Britain's colonial economic history and demands that we never forget it
Product Details
ISBN: 9781529338645
ISBN-10: 1529338646
Publisher: John Murray
Publication Date: June 13th, 2023
Pages: 384
Language: English