"This original and well-written study can be read with great profit by scholars of law and of Empire; it adds an important and long neglected dimension to both areas of study, and in the process reveals yet more of the rich and complex weft and warp of the history of British imperial rule." —David Killingray, Goldsmiths College, University of London
"In An Empire on Trial Martin Wiener gives us an absorbing account of the tension between the principles of British law and its rendering in the colonies. Wiener does a superb job of demonstrating the profound variation in colonial experience of the law and in revealing the ever fraught relationship between local and central objectives. His extraordinarily wide-ranging comparative approach, his carefully argued position, and his deep knowledge of the criminal law all serve to make this study an important and original contribution to legal and to imperial British history." —Philippa Levine, University of Southern California
"One of the many virtues of An Empire on Trial is the way it persuades the reader of the significance of the history of criminal justice and demonstrates the centrality of the law in Britain and colonial society. At another level Wiener interprets the evolution of the law in relation to new trends in the social, economic, and cultural history of Britain and the Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book is thus a historiographical landmark, but it will also be of interest to the general public because of its clear and compelling style and the dramatic focus on murder trials. In every way An Empire on Trial is a tour de force." —Wm. Roger Louis, University of Texas at Austin
"In this important, path-breaking, study in comparative colonial history, Professor Wiener engagingly and persuasively demonstrates the complex and conflicting pulls on the criminal justice systems of a range of multi-racial British colonies. Confidently steering between reductionist and complacent renderings of imperialism, he shows the extent to which British politicians, the Colonial Office, colonial officials, the judiciary, and, not least, the colonized, pushed for genuine equality before the law for all residents of these possessions, typically in the face of visceral opposition by European minorities with their own limited and self-interested vision of the rule of law and its protections." —John McLaren, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Victoria, British Columbia
"...a complex, fascinating, and sometimes controversial book." -Sascha Auerbach, Journal of British Studies
"An Empire on Trial is strong in its diverse and compelling case studies."
Victorian Studies, R. W. Kostal, University of Western Ontario
"Lively and well written, Wiener's study addresses important questions about imperial governance and policy and engages with important historiographical issues without losing either its narrative force or the human dimension and particularly of historical events." -Journal of Modern History