The Skull of Alum Bheg: The Life and Death of a Rebel of 1857 (Hardback)
  • The Skull of Alum Bheg: The Life and Death of a Rebel of 1857 (Hardback)
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The Skull of Alum Bheg: The Life and Death of a Rebel of 1857 (Hardback)

(author)
£25.00
Hardback 256 Pages
Published: 30/11/2017
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In 1963, a human skull was discovered in a pub in south-east England. The handwritten note found inside revealed it to be that of Alum Bheg, an Indian soldier in British service who had been blown from a cannon for his role in the 1857 Uprising, his head brought back as a grisly war-trophy by an Irish officer present at his execution. The skull is a troublesome relic of both anti-colonial violence and the brutality and spectacle of British retribution.

Kim Wagner presents an intimate and vivid account of life and death in British India in the throes of the largest rebellion of the nineteenth century. Examining the Victorians’ macabre fetish for collecting and exhibiting body parts, the book also offers a critical assessment of British imperialism that speaks to contemporary debates about the legacies of Empire and the myth of the ‘Mutiny’.

Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 9781849048705
Number of pages: 256
Dimensions: 216 x 138 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'Astonishing . . . Wagner radically reframes popular assumptions about how the British Empire was won and run . . . engrossing.'

'Superb popular history . . . meticulous forensic research into the events that led to the 1857 uprising.'

'[Wagner] has created a historical detective story all the more intriguing because of the "archival absence" of Bheg himself . . . a fascinating study of life and death in British India.'

'This is a remarkable work of historical detection . . . a meticulously researched and well-documented account of the events leading up to Bheg's execution. . . Wagner's book is a welcome addition to our understanding of the modus operandi of imperialism.'

‘Gripping, fast paced narrative . . . Wagner delves deftly into vast primary source material to illustrate the intricate and multifaceted social histories of events . . . one pleasantly feels less that one is reading a historical account than an a heady whodunit.’ 

‘A meticulously researched, gripping narrative that brings to life the human aspects of imperialism . . . vividly written . . . page-turning.’

'Remarkable.'

‘Gripping . . . a valuable addition to the existing body of scholarship on 1857.’

'With this book Wagner casts off the crimes -- mutiny and murder -- for which the men of the 46th BNI were massacred. And by doing so, Wagner does something truly magical: nearly 160 years after Bheg's brutal execution, Wagner returns him and his comrades their rightful and due honour.'

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