Editor | History
In his most ambitious book to date, bestselling historian William Dalrymple tells the timely and cautionary tale of the rise of the East India Company and one of the most supreme acts of corporate violence in world history.
In August 1765, the East India Company defeated and captured the young Mughal emperor and forced him to set up in his richest provinces a new government run by English traders who collected taxes through means of a vast and ruthless private army.
The creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional international trading corporation, dealing in silks and spices, and became something much more unusual: an aggressive colonial power in the guise of a multinational business.
In less than half a century it had trained up a private security force of around 260,000 men – twice the size of the British army – and had subdued an entire subcontinent, conquering first Bengal and finally, in 1803, the Mughal capital of Delhi itself.
The Company’s reach stretched relentlessly until almost all of India south of the Himalayas was effectively ruled from a boardroom in London.
The Anarchy tells the remarkable story of how one of the world’s most magnificent empires disintegrated and came to be replaced by a dangerously unregulated private company, based thousands of miles overseas and answerable only to its shareholders.
In his most ambitious and riveting book to date, William Dalrymple tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before, unfolding a timely cautionary tale of the first global corporate power.
About the author
William Dalrymple is a bestselling author whose books include In Xanadu, From the Holy Mountain, White Mughals, The Last Mughal, Nine Lives and Return of a King. He has won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award, the French Prix d’Astrolabe, the Wolfson Prize for History, the Scottish Book of the Year Prize, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, The Asia House Award for Asian Literature, the Vodafone Crossword Award for non-fiction, the Kapuscinski Prize for Literary Reportage, and has been shortlisted four times for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He lives with his wife and three children on a farm outside Delhi.