Running the Show, By Stephanie Williams


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The Independent Culture

The moustachioed figure under an arch of elephant tusks on the cover appears to be an archetype of the arrogant imperial administrator - but looks are deceiving.

Arriving in Uganda in 1906, Harry Bell hated hunting and "intensely disliked" white settlers. Far from despising his charges, he organised an evacuation of 100,000 to curb sleeping sickness.

Focusing on 1850-1900, Williams tells the stories of British governors from Canada, where the Marquess of Lorne's heartfelt sympathy for Indians was undercut by his advocacy of white immigration, to Guiana, where William des Voeux fought the virtual slavery imposed by sugar planters.

An enthralling exploration of the triumphs and disasters of Empire.