Sahib: The British Soldier in India 1750-1914

by Richard Holmes

Hardcover, 2006




HarperCollins UK (2006), Edition: First Edition, 572 pages


From bestselling author of 'Tommy' and 'Redcoat', the rich history of the British soldier in India from Clive to the end of empire considered to be the jewel in Britain's imperial crown. 'Sahib' is a broad and sweeping military history of the British soldier in India, but its focus, like that of Tommy and Redcoat before it, will be on the men who served in India and the women who followed them across that vast and dusty continent, bore their children, and, all too often, mopped their brows as they died. The book begins with the remarkable story of India's rise from commercial enclave to great Empire, from Clive's victory of Plassey, through the imperial wars of the 18th-century and the Afghan and Sikh Wars of the 1840s, through the bloody turmoil of the Mutiny, and the frontier campaigns at the century's end. With its focus on the experience of ordinary soldiers, 'Sahib' explains to us why soldiers of the Raj had joined the army, how they got to India and what they made of it when they arrived. The book examines Indian soldiering in peace and war, from Kipling's 'snoring barrack room' to storming parties assaulting mighty fortresses, cavalry swirling across open plains, and khaki columns inching their way between louring hills. Making full use of extensive and often neglected archive material in the India Office Library and National Army Museum, 'Sahib' will do for the British soldier in India - whether serving a local ruler, forming part of the Indian army, or soldiering with a British regiment - what 'Tommy' has done for the ordinary soldier in World War I.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member HarmlessTed
This is a very interesting and readable book. It is Holmes' third in a series about british soldiers between 1750 and 1919. The other books being REDCOAT and TOMMY, in which Holmes looks at the British soldier in the age of musketry and during the first world war respectively. In SAHIB Holmes uses
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contemporary material as sources and gives an impressive insight in to what it was really like to be a British soldier in India between 1750 and 1914. Highly recommended!
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