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

Studies in Imperialism
Manchester University Press, Manchester 2023, 264 Seiten
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.


Imperial Steam makes a substantial contribution to the history of industrialization and empire. It will be useful to maritime historians and specialists on the British Empire, but it also sheds light as a case study on some of the ‘big’ questions on modernity and machines as experienced by travelers, laborers, and consumers.”
Tommy Jamison, Technology and Culture 64.4 (2023)


Imperial Steam: Modernity on the Sea Route to India, 1837–74

Rezension von Tommy Jamison, in: Technology and Culture 64.4 (2023), 1312–1314