British Empire Books

The Savage Frontier

AuthorD. S. Richards
ISBN No.0333525574

"The Afghan cavalry charged furiously down the hill upon our troops. No squares were formed to receive them. All was regular confusion. My very heart felt as if it had leapt to my teeth when I saw the Afghans ride clean through them. The onset was fearful. They looked like a cluster of bees, but we beat them and drove them up again." Lady Sale

Interior of Fort at Chitral
Interior of Chitral Fort
This is book that charts the history of the troubled relations between the British and the Afghans who clashed with each other for more than a century. The book itself is written in a clear and easy to read manner, but it does seem to have lost a narrative drive. It seems to be more a collection of disparate articles that all just happen to be contained in the same book. Also, what with covering a century and a half plus of history, the information in the book seems sparse indeed in places. If you want a general overview of the important events in this part of the world, then this book will give you a brief introduction to them, but you will soon be wanting to add more meat to the bone. But, perhaps the most serious of problems is the fact that this book does not seem to have been checked very carefully for errors. I found a number of them in the pages, one of the most serious was a caption of a picture saying that it is one of the 55th foot at the defeat at Maiwand in 1880. There was no 55th foot at Maiwand - it was the 66th. Errors like these give you little confidence of the veracity of the rest of the material in the book.

I don't want to appear too hard on this book. It is a light and informative read about subjects that it is often difficult to find information on, it is just that the book has serious limitations that you should be aware of before you invest your time and/or money in getting hold of it.

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