Felipe Fernández-Armesto

All They Could Eat

The Hungry Empire: How Britain’s Quest for Food Shaped the Modern World


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Peering between the curtains of his viceregal railway carriage, Lord Curzon saw so few emaciated corpses that he reckoned reports of famine in India must be greatly exaggerated. Yet, decorously outside his range of vision, perhaps as many as sixteen million Indians starved to death in the late 19th century. An empire’s most basic obligation is to try to keep unrebellious subjects alive for a reasonable span. Few succeed in doing that.

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