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The British in India: Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience
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David Gilmour
The British in India: Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience by David Gilmour at Abbey's Bookshop,

The British in India: Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience

David Gilmour


Allen Lane

British & Irish history;
Asian history;
Social & cultural history;
Colonialism & imperialism


592 pages

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A panoramic social history chronicling the lives of hundreds of British people of all classes in the most important territory of the British Empire.

The British in this book lived in India from shortly after the reign of Elizabeth I until well into the reign of Elizabeth II. They were soldiers, officials, businessmen, doctors and missionaries of both sexes, planters, engineers and many others, together with children, wives and sisters. This book describes their lives, their work and their extraordinarily varied interactions with the native populations; it also records the very diverse roles they played in the three centuries of British-Indian history.

Gilmour writes of people who have never been written about before, men and women who are presented here with humanity and often with humour. The result is a magnificent tapestry of life, an exceptional work of scholarly recovery which reads like a great nineteenth-century novel. It makes a highly original and engaging contribution to a long an important period of British and Indian history.

By:   David Gilmour
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 43mm
Weight:   1.141kg
ISBN:   9780241004524
ISBN 10:   0241004527
Pages:   592
Publication Date:   September 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

David Gilmour is one of Britain's most admired and accomplished historical writers and biographers. He is the author of lives of George Curzon (Duff Cooper Prize) and Rudyard Kipling (Elizabeth Longford Prize) and of The Ruling Caste: Imperial Lives in the Victorian Raj, an acclaimed study of the administrators of Victorian India. His other works include The Last Leopard, a biography of Giuseppe di Lampedusa (Marsh Biography Award) as well as several books on the modern history of Spain and the Middle East. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a former Research Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford.

The British in India is an exceptional book. It evokes those animated crowd scenes painted by William Frith, full of people going about their workaday lives, or enjoying themselves. These paintings enchanted the Victorians, prompting them to ask: who are these people, where do they come from, what are they saying and thinking, and what will become of them? 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 * Hugely researched and elegantly written, sensitive to the ironies of the past and brimming with colourful details, his book has no time for academic jargon or pretentious theorising ... Gilmour is interested in human complexity, not in moralistic posturing. Perhaps that is why his books sell -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times * This 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 * The narrative is studded with nuggets that illuminate the relationship between Britain and the sub-continent ... magisterial -- Navtej Sarna * Financial Times * He gives us just about everything one has ever heard of, or would wish to know, about the British in India, from what these expatriates ate - anglicised curries and kedgeree, with chicken as a backstop - to their painful separation from their children, who were sent home to school at the age of five. Superbly researched, The British in India is authoritative and comprehensive -- Anne de Courcy * Sunday Telegraph * Impressive ... 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 *

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