Human Capital and Empire: Scotland, Ireland, Wales and British Imperialism in Asia, c.1690–c.1820 (2021)

Andrew Mackillop, Human Capital and Empire: Scotland, Ireland, Wales and British Imperialism in Asia, c.1690-c.1820. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2021, 344pp., hardback, £85.00, ISBN9780719070723.

This book makes a very strong contribution to Irish historical scholarship – must-read for students and historians working on Ireland’s diaspora, its relations with Empire and with its closest neighbours. Uses Irish, Scottish and Welsh involvement in the English East India companies (EIC) to explore the ‘multiple pathways into empire’ and the impact of the returning personnel, capital and ideas. First few chapters are a great resource for histories of EIC; each chapter of the remainder of the book provides new data about Irish participation in the British Empire, as well as about Ireland itself, its cities and regions. Mackillop pays close attention to the distinctive characteristics of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. By using the EIC as his case study, he manages to recast the British and Irish Isles as ‘an accretion of expanding regional, national and supranational communities and cultures’.

An easy read for an academic work – great uncluttered prose, consistent framework throughout, wealth of data.

My full review to be published in volume 22 of the Australasian Journal of Irish Studies (AJIS).

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