This compelling book makes a huge contribution to our understanding of the processes which led to abolition. The British empire, in sentimental myth, was more free, more just and more fair than its rivals. But this claim that the British empire was ‘free’ and that, for all its flaws, it promised liberty to all its subjects was never true. The British empire was built on slavery. ‘Slave Empire’ puts enslaved people at the centre the British empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In intimate, human detail, the chapters show how British imperial power and industrial capitalism were inextricable from plantation slavery.