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William Dalrymple: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company

William Dalrymple speaking at UNSW

The devastating story of how the British came to rule India is one characterised by aggression, ruthlessness and violence. From trading silks and spices to running a vast private security force twice the size of the British army, the East India Company mercilessly conquered the entire Indian subcontinent.

So how did a company headquartered in a single office, five windows wide, bring down one of the world’s most magnificent empires?

Historian and best-selling author William Dalrymple delivers a rich account of Britain’s harrowing colonial history, exploring how a dangerously unregulated private enterprise managed to corrupt the most senior British politicians and officials in the process.

We still talk about the British conquering India, but that phrase disguises a more sinister reality.

William Dalrymple


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Photo credit: Prudence Upton

William Dalrymple portrait photo

William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple is one of Britain’s great historians and the best-selling author of the highly-acclaimed In Xanadu, the Wolfson Prize-winning White Mughals and the Hemingway Prize-winning Return of a King. Dalrymple is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and The Guardian. In 2018, he was presented with the prestigious President’s Medal by The British Academy for his outstanding literary achievement and for founding the Jaipur Literature Festival. 

Photo by Bikramjit Bose.

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