Jennifer Pitts’ book, A Turn to Empire is out (in the States, at least: I picked up a copy at University Press Books in Berkeley; but it should appear over here before too long). I’m not wholly impartial, as we shared a flat in Cambridge, Mass., for two years, and I’ve read various early drafts over the years, but I think it looks great.
So if anyone’s interested in why English and French liberal political thought became quite so imperialist in the middle of the nineteenth-century (esp. Mill, Tocqueville) despite a fairly solidly anti-imperialist late-eighteenth-century ancestry (esp. Burke, Smith, Bentham), Pitts is your woman.
(A fairly topical subject, I’d have thought, given the extent to which people on blogs like to talk about the heritage of the Enlightenment, liberal empires, intervention in other countries’ affairs, and so on. Order yourself a copy now.)
(And, slightly off-topic, isn’t City Lights just wonderful?)