British Empire Books

The Sikh Wars

The British Army in the Punjab 1845-1849

Contributed by John Baxter

EditorCook, H
ISBN No.0850521645

This is a readable account of the 1st and 2nd Sikh Wars which acceptably covers all the main actions. However, in comparison to its most recent rival (Featherstone "At Them with the Bayonet" 1968), it perhaps suffers. Featherstone has more useful maps and OBs, as well as an appendix containing some of Hardinge's, Gough's and Smith's dispatches.

Cook covers the 2nd Sikh War (Featherstone covers only the 1st) and has a better list of sources.

Unfortunately, what both of these books highlight is that the Sikh Wars are crying out for a modern, more comprehensive account. If there are any budding Hibberts or Pakenhams (or Ian Knights?) out there, get to it! Given the comprehensive coverage of other colonial periods, the Sikh Wars have been ignored by comparison. The importance to British India was certainly well recognised at the time and you get the drama of six major battles that shaped the future of British India.

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by Stephen Luscombe