From the bestselling author of Tommy and Redcoat, a magnificent and rich history of the British soldier in India from Clive to the end of empire, making full use of personal accounts of soldiers who served in the vast and varied nation that made up the jewel in Britain's imperial crown. Sahib is a broad and sweeping military history of the British soldier in India, but its focus, like that of Tommy and Redcoat before it, is on the men who served in India and the women who followed them across that vast and dusty continent, bore their children, and, all too often, mopped their brows as they died. The book begins with the remarkable story of India's rise from commercial enclave to great Empire, from Clive's victory of Plassey, through the imperial wars of the eighteenth century and the Afghan and Sikh Wars of the 1840s, through the bloody turmoil of the Mutiny, and the frontier campaigns at the century's end. With its focus on the experience of ordinary soldiers, Sahib explains to us why soldiers of the Raj had joined the army, how they got to India and what they made of it when they arrived. The book examines Indian soldiering in peace and war, from Kipling's 'snoring barrack room' to storming parties assaulting mighty fortresses, cavalry swirling across open plains, and khaki columns inching their way between louring hills. Making full use of extensive and often neglected archive material in the India Office Library and National Army Museum, Sahib does for the British soldier in India - whether serving a local ruler, forming part of the Indian army, or soldiering with a British regiment - what Tommy did for the ordinary soldier in the First World War.
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Richard Holmes was one of Britain's most distinguished and eminent military historians and broadcasters. For many years Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield University and the Royal Military College of Science, he also taught military history at Sandhurst. He was the author of many best-selling and widely acclaimed books including Redcoat, Tommy, Marlborough and Wellington, and famous for his BBC series such as War Walks, In the Footsteps of Churchill and Wellington. He served in the Territorial Army, retiring as a brigadier and Britain's most senior reservist, and was Colonel of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment from 1999 to 2007. Richard Holmes died suddenly in April 2011 from pneumonia. He had been suffering from non-Hodgkins' Lymphoma.Review:
`For anyone interested in the Raj this book is a must.' Observer `Richard Holmes's mastery of the British Army is unequalled ... A worthy memorial of one of the extraordinary experiences in British history.' Max Hastings, Sunday Telegraph `Holmes is a passionate and richly entertaining champion of the rank and file.' Daily Telegrah `Insightful, colourful, relevant and pithy' The Times
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