The British empire was a huge enterprise. To foreigners it more or less defined Britain in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Its repercussions in the wider world are still with us today. One might expect this to have been reflected in her society and culture. This is the first book to examine this assumption critically against the broader background of contemporary British society. Bernard Porter, a leading imperial historian, argues that the empire had a far lower profile in Britain than it did abroad. He argues that though Britain was an imperial nation in this period, she was never a genuine imperial society.