The British in India: A Social History of the Raj

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Product Details

Picador USA
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.2 X 1.1 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

Sir David Gilmour is one of Britain's most admired and accomplished historical writers and biographers. His previous books include The Last Leopard, The Long Recessional, The Ruling Caste, and The Pursuit of Italy.


"Dazzling . . . Gilmour's command of detail is both scholarly and endlessly engaging . . . The result is a complex vision of the colonial era that feels both immediate and distinctly new." --The New Yorker

"Marvelous . . . Mr. Gilmour orders The British in India thematically . . . the structure's success owes as much to its simplicity as to Mr. Gilmour's remarkable feel for detail, perspective and proportion . . . The erudition, balance and wit of The British in India are in keeping with Mr. Gilmour's superb Anglo-Indian biographies." --Maxwell Carter, The Wall Street Journal

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

"The British in India is an exceptional book . . . 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. Gilmour writes with wit, detachment and grace. The range of his research is impressive . . . The British in India is a wonderful memorial to the men and women whose legacy is the administrative, legal and educational framework of today's India." --Lawrence James, The Times (UK)

"[The British in India] is the best kind of history: meticulously researched, elegantly and entertainingly written, and as wide in its sympathies as it is long in its reach." --Peter Parker, Spectator (UK)

"David Gilmour, in his highly readable social history The British in India, ... takes apart diaries, memoirs and piles of ribbon-bound letters and creates a fluid narrative detailing how the civilians and soldiers, memsahibs and missionaries, planters and box-wallahs, "pig-stickers" and prostitutes lived, loved and died in a strange, faraway and at times hostile land . . .The narrative is studded with nuggets that illuminate the relationship between Britain and the sub-continent . . . A magisterial work." --Navtej Sarna, Financial Times

"This impressive book from David Gilmour, an old hand at Raj history, describes this tribe of British conquerors, administrators and merchants who lived in India from shortly after the death of Elizabeth I until well into the reign of Elizabeth II . . . This is a rich and nuanced social history that does not treat every British footstep on the subcontinent as if it were a step on the way to the Amritsar massacre. That does not make it an imperial whitewash." --Jad Adams, New Statesman (UK)