Catalogue


The business of empire : the East India Company and imperial Britain, 1756-1833 /
H.V. Bowen.
imprint
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2006.
description
xiv, 304 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0521844770 (hbk.), 9780521844772 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2006.
isbn
0521844770 (hbk.)
9780521844772 (hbk.)
catalogue key
5656592
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-11-01:
In this well-documented study, Bowen (Univ. of Leicester, UK) assesses the East India Company's impact on Britain's economy. Though nearly a third of its investors in the 1750s were women, the enterprise exemplified gentlemanly capitalism. Parliament ended voting rights for small stockholders, ensuring that the London directors were wealthy males. Bowen recounts how they faced perennial difficulty enforcing their orders abroad, but eventually a professional workforce meant imperial rule perhaps more effective than the Crown's. The company, however, always lacked exports that would sell in Asia, and by the 1790s suffered from war, taxes, and the competition of British merchants, manufacturers, and smugglers. So dim were its commercial prospects by the 1830s that bullion was shipped home to pay for the tools of empire. Still, Bowen insists on a role for the company in British industrialization. It stimulated the domestic economy by giving work to more than 100,000 Britons in 1800 and making cash outlays at home from 1756 to 1834 that may have exceeded a fifth of all government expenditure. Though the book lacks a bibliography, Bowen's important argument in attractive prose belongs in all academic libraries serving upper-division undergraduates and above. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Academic and research collections. G. F. Steckley Knox College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"...a highly accessible and yet rigorously scholarly study..." -Michael H. Fisher, Histoire sociale
Bowen's important argument in attractive prose belongs in all academic libraries.... Highly recommended.” -- Choice
'In many places he paints with a broad brush but, using the Company's ledgers, he does so with accuracy and an eye for detail that brings India and China, Britain and Europe, into the board room ... Bowen and Cambridge University Press are to be congratulated on producing a very important book.' History
Bowen's important argument in attractive prose belongs in all academic libraries'¦. Highly recommended.” -- Choice
Bowen’s important argument in attractive prose belongs in all academic libraries…. Highly recommended.” -- Choice
" Bowen's important argument in attractive prose belongs in all academic libraries.... Highly recommended." -- Choice
"...his approach is unprecedented and much needed...an excellent starting point from which others can explore these topics." --Woodruff D. Smith, University of Massachusetts: Journal of Interdisciplinary History
'This is a careful and thorough study of an important but often ignored aspect of the history of the East Indian phenomenon.' Contemporary Review
Review of the hardback: 'In many places he paints with a broad brush but, using the Company's ledgers, he does so with accuracy and an eye for detail that brings India and China, Britain and Europe, into the board room ... Bowen and Cambridge University Press are to be congratulated on producing a very important book.' History
Review of the hardback: '... Bowen ... writes in a highly readable jargon-free style. One of the measures of his success in producing such a stimulating work,which will undoubtedly become a 'standard', is the way that reading him provokes so many thoughts of further research possibilities.' Asian Affairs
Review of the hardback: 'This is a careful and thorough study of an important but often ignored aspect of the history of the East Indian phenomenon.' Contemporary Review
Review of the hardback: 'This is a remarkable feat of scholarship that will immediately become an indispensable guide to later history of the British East India Company ... Bowen's study provides a wealth of new information on many aspects of the company's operations in Britain in the century after the conquest of Bengal in 1756.' Times Higher Education Supplement
"The Business of Empireprovides a rich and fascinating exploration of what H.V. Bowen modestly describes as the 'internal history' of the East India Company...The book offers a wealth of insights." Douglas M. Peers, The International History Review
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2006
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Summaries
Description for Bookstore
The book provides the first detailed study of what happened in Britain when the East India Company acquired a vast territorial empire in South Asia. It offers a reconstruction of the inner workings of the Company as it made the remarkable transition from business to empire during the late-eighteenth century. Huw Bowen explores the Company's interactions with the domestic economy and society, and sheds new light on its contributions to the development of Britain's imperial state. This book will appeal to all those interested in imperial, economic and business history.
Description for Bookstore
The first detailed study of what happened in Britain when the East India Company acquired a vast territorial empire in South Asia. It offers a reconstruction of the inner workings of the company as it made the remarkable transition from business to empire during the late-eighteenth century.
Long Description
This volume is the first detailed study of what happened in Britain when the East India Company acquired a vast territorial empire in South Asia. Drawing on a mass of hitherto unused material contained in the Company's administrative and financial records, the book offers a reconstruction of the inner workings of the Company as it made the remarkable transition from business to empire during the late-eighteenth century. Huw Bowen profiles the company's stock holders and directors and examines how those in London adapted their methods, working practices, and policies to changing circumstances in India.
Main Description
The Business of Empire assesses the domestic impact of British imperial expansion by analysing what happened in Britain following the East India Company's acquisition of a vast territorial empire in South Asia. Drawing on a mass of hitherto unused material contained in the company's administrative and financial records, the book offers a reconstruction of the inner workings of the company as it made the remarkable transition from business to empire during the late-eighteenth century. H. V. Bowen profiles the company's stockholders and directors and examines how those in London adapted their methods, working practices, and policies to changing circumstances in India. He also explores the company's multifarious interactions with the domestic economy and society, and sheds important new light on its substantial contributions to the development of Britain's imperial state, public finances, military strength, trade and industry. This book will appeal to all those interested in imperial, economic and business history.
Table of Contents
Introduction
Relationships: city, state, and empire
Relationships: government and Company
People: investors in empire
People: company men
Methods: an empire in writing
Methods: the government of empire
Methods: the management of trade
Influences: the Company and the British economy
Afterword
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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