Books about India

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Books - India

Bright Eyes of Danger - An Account of the Anglo-Sikh Wars 1845-1849, Bill Whitburn. Traces the development of the Sikh Empire under Ranjit Singh, his careful relationship with the British, the chaos that followed his death and the two wars that followed. Treats the two sides as equally valid, so we get a picture of the wars as they may have appeared at the time. Makes it clear that the first war in particular was a very close thing, with the British close to defeat on several occasions, only to be saved by the failure of Ranjit Singh's successors [read full review]
Naval Resistance to Britain's Growing Power in India 1660-1800 - The Saffron Banner and the Tiger of Mysore, Philip MacDougall. Looks at the clashes between British naval power and the fleets of the Marathas and Mysore, in the period when the East Indies Company went from being a trading company to a major political power in India. The author really knows his material, and as a result we get a very detailed picture of various Indian fleets, their ships, organisation and leadership and the reasons they failed to overcome the British. [read full review]
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The Twilight of the East India Company - The Evolution of Anglo-Asian Commerce and Politics 1790-1860, Anthony Webster . A look at the declining years of the East India Company, where it lost first its monopoly of the Indian trade and then the China trade and its commercial activities to become almost a branch of the British Government in India. Also looks at the Company's rivals and how well they performed in India. [read full review]
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The Emergence of British Power in India 1600-1784 - A Grand Strategic Interpretation, G.J. Bryant. Focuses on the last forty years in which the British East India Company controlled its own diplomatic activity in India - the period in which the company's holdings expanded from a series of small trading enclaves into a sizable land empire. A splendid history of this pivotal period for the British in India, combining a good account of events with a detailed study of the motives that drove the Company and its servants. [read full review]
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Afghan Wars

Retreat and Retribution in Afghanistan 1842 - Two Journals of the First Afghan War, Margaret Kekewich. An account of the First Afghan War, based on two diaries produced during the war, one by Lady Florentia Sale, the wife of a British officer caught up in the disaster at Kabul, the second by the Reverend Isaac Allen, a clergyman who accompanied the army of retribution that rescued the prisoners taken during the retreat from Kabul. [read full review]
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