British Empire Books

The Great Mutiny: India 1857

AuthorChristopher Hibbert
ISBN No.0140047522

If ever a book deserved to be called unputdownable, then this is that book. I was captivated by the narrative from the very first few paragraphs. Perhaps it is the fact that the Indian Mutiny is so intrinsically interesting. It has heroic last stands, derring-do escapades, relief columns scampering around as quickly as they could, the difficulty of telling the enemy apart from friends and acts of desperation on a truly monumental scale. The Indian Mutiny was a compelling series of events that stretched the resources of the East India Company to beyond breaking point. However, I do believe that Christopher Hibbert really manages to capture the suspense and uncertainty that faced the unwilling participants of this unfortunate event. He presents good solid historical narrative in a way that is both compelling and illuminating. Although this really is just a narrative of the events. He does not overly dwell on the causes and consequences of the Mutiny. Not to say that this is any sort of criticism, there are plenty of other sources who have dwelled on these issues to exhaustion. No, Christopher Hibbert describes the events that turned ordinary people into extraordinary, if unwilling, actors in a drama that shook Victorian Britain to its core. This book is a great single volume introduction to the events of 1857/8. Read it if you can.

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by Stephen Luscombe