On 15th November 1884 a dozen European nations gathered in Berlin to divide up the African continent like young children dividing up a pizza. With no concern for the culture or the families of the continent, the map was redrawn and lands claimed. What followed was the systematic undoing of Africa.
The Many-Headed Hydra
by Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker
This book gives much food for thought, bringing a fresh perspective to number of themes such as slavery and pirates which help put English peasant struggles of the time in a wider context.
Whilst I would highly recommend it, I would also advise with some caution as the scholarship is not as widely respected as it might be.
This review from the Guardian does a good job and it worth a look – http://www.theguardian.com/books/2001/jan/27/historybooks