At this late date, Niall Ferguson, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the
British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (New York: Basic,
2003), reaches back for the old trope of how much the British Empire
benefited the colonized, gifting them with, among other important things,
the English language. Astonishingly, in Ferguson’s tale the colonized
played no decisive role in ending empire. Change the country’s and colo-
nies’ names, and the book can be read as an apologia for the French Em-
pire. Of course, unlike Ferguson’s conclusion, the French story would not
have ended with an appeal to the United States to follow Rudyard Kipling’s
advice to us to ‘‘pick up the . . . burden.’’ Now based in the United States,
this descendent of the Scots who built the British Empire continues to
think imperially on our behalf.

Chalmers Johnson, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American
Empire (New York: Holt, 2000), 8.

Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and
the End of the Republic (New York: Holt, 2004), 286. More recently, Olivier
Le Cour Grandmaison, Coloniser, Exterminer: Sur la guerre et l’État colonial
(Paris: Fayard, 2005), has demonstrated how the techniques of o≈cial ter-
rorism, biological racism, and even a genocidal mind-set, worked out by
the generals who pacified Algeria after the conquest, were brought back to
metropolitan France to guide, first, the repression of the workers’ uprising
of 1848, then the Third Republic’s repressive policies in the other colonies,
and (perhaps not) finally, the racial politics of Vichy France.

The reader will find some of my thoughts on these problems, espe-
cially immigrant workers and empire, in my Bringing the Empire Back
Home: France in the Global Age (Durham, NC: Duke University Press,
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