Imperial Steam
Modernity on the sea route to India, 1837–74

Studies in Imperialism
Manchester University Press, Manchester 2023, 264 pages
ISBN 978-1-5261-6448-3

Imperial Steam explores the early history of steamship travel to Britain’s imperial East. Drawing upon the wealth of voyage narratives which were produced in the first decades of the new route to India, the book examines the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of those whose lives were caught up with the imperial project. The potent symbolism of the steamship, which exceeded the often harsh realities of travel, provided a convincing narrative for coming to terms with Britain’s global empire—not just for passengers, but for those at home who consumed the ubiquitous accounts of steamship travel. Imperial Steam thus contributes to our understanding of the role of imperial networks in the production of the British imperial world view.