The British in India: Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience (Paperback)
  • The British in India: Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience (Paperback)
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The British in India: Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience (Paperback)

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Paperback 640 Pages / Published: 01/08/2019
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Memsahibs and merchants, doctors and diplomats; many different types of Briton ventured to India and, in this impeccably researched and eloquently written history, David Gilmour attempts to cover them all. Much more than just an archetypal account of the Raj, The British in India unearths unconventional characters and unexpected facts from a complex and divisive period of shared history.

The British in this book lived in India from shortly after the reign of Elizabeth I until well into the reign of Elizabeth II. Who were they? What drove these men and women to risk their lives on long voyages down the Atlantic and across the Indian Ocean or later via the Suez Canal? And when they got to India, what did they do and how did they live?

This book explores the lives of the many different sorts of Briton who went to India: viceroys and offcials, soldiers and missionaries, planters and foresters, merchants, engineers, teachers and doctors. It evokes the three and a half centuries of their ambitions and experiences, together with the lives of their families, recording the diversity of their work and their leisure, and the complexity of their relationships with the peoples of India. It also describes the lives of many who did not fit in with the usual image of the Raj: the tramps and rascals, the men who 'went native', the women who scorned the role of the traditional memsahib.

David Gilmour has spent decades researching in archives, studying the papers of many people who have never been written about before, to create a magnificent tapestry of British life in India. Its exceptional work of scholarly recovery portrays individuals with understanding and humour, and makes an original and engaging contribution to a long and important period of British and Indian history.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780141979212
Number of pages: 640
Weight: 472 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'Hugely researched and elegantly written, sensitive to the ironies of the past and brimming with colourful details.' - Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times 

'Glorious, human, colourful, teeming and spicy. If you read just one book on imperial India, let it be this.' - John Lewis-Stempel, Sunday Express

'An exceptional book. It evokes those animated crowd scenes painted by William Frith, full of people going about their workaday lives, or enjoying themselves. ... David Gilmour's canvas is British India and he provides the answers in a penetrating and vivid portrait of the British men and women who ran the show from the mid-18th century to 1947.' - Lawrence James, The Times 

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“A fair and balanced reflection”

The Guardian made the foolish error of trying to compare this book to Shashi Tharoor's own on British rule.

To paraphrase, it acknowledged that while yes, Gilmour was an accomplished historian who had brought... More

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