Andrew Murray's book counters the view of some leading historians, such as Niall Fergusson, who in recent years have attempted to revise the history of imperialism to put it in a positive light.

Andrew Murray argues that -- instead of accepting the view that the "liberal interventionism" of politicians like Tony Blair represents a progressive development -- we need to examine the reality of the British Empire, "the better to develop an understanding as to why the last thing the great majority of the world wants to see is a repetition, however dressed up."

In discussing the different ways in which imperialism is being interpreted, including by the so-called "pro-war left", this book looks in particular at Tony Blair's premiership and the Iraq war.