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SEPOY/INDIAN MUTINY -- RECOMMENDED READING


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Post #1 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 03:59 AM

I'm quite interested in buying this one;

Gregory Fremont Barnes examines the origins of British rule in India, the causes of the conflict, the rival forces and fighting itself, including the massacre of Cawnpore and the epic sieges of Delhi and Lucknow;

http://www.amazon.co...ds=sepoy mutiny

 

And this one;

To many Indians, it was their First War of Independence. To the British, it was a military mutiny. Either way, neither country would be the same by the time it was over.

http://www.amazon.co...ds=sepoy mutiny

 

I bought this one several years back. It's most likely, one of the most tragic and heart-rending books you'll ever read;

http://www.amazon.co...840QQSR9G57MZBN

 

I've got this next one as well -- it's brilliant!

Following the May 1857 uprising by sepoys in Meerut and Delhi, the whole future of the British Raj was in the balance. Nowhere was this better demonstrated than at Lucknow and Cawnpore.

At the latter a garrison of 240 with 375 British women and children battled to survive a siege by 3,000 mutineers led by Nana Sahib. Unimaginable horrors of artillery and sniper fire coupled with the crippling heat of the Indian summer took their toll. An offer of safe passage was treacherously reneged on and the massacres which followed drew a terrible retribution when relief finally arrived, in the shape of Generals Havelock and Neil.

At Lucknow, the 1800 British men, women and children supported by more than 1,000 loyal sepoys resisted assaults by 20,000 mutineers, despite heavy casualties and sickness. Sir Colin Campbell's force got through to relieve the garrison and evacuate civilians in November 1857 but the city was not restored to British control until March 1858. These dramatic events are brought to life in this first rate history.

http://www.amazon.co...XVP02AM2DVB7GM3

 

I've got this one too -- highly recommended!

http://www.amazon.co...XVP02AM2DVB7GM3

 

I don't have this one yet, but intend to buy it soon;

http://www.amazon.co...T9F1Z8TTVV9AYCP

 

For historical fiction, this one's a must-have;

http://www.amazon.co...e of krishnapur

 

And of course;

http://www.amazon.co... the great game

 

By no means is this an exhaustive list -- I'll add to it as and when the opportunity arises.

Happy Reading

H



Post #2 Andy c. Neilson

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 09:30 AM

"The Siege of Krishnapur" by J.G. Farrell, a Booker Prize winner and a superb novel of one part of the Mutiny...One of my all-time favourite books and a superb story, superbly told!
This author died tragically young in a drowning and wrote a trilogy of books on different aspects of the rise and fall of the British Empire... "Troubles" about Ireland in the early 1920's...the aforementioned "Siege of Krishnapur"...and my own personal favourite..." The Singapore Grip" about the Fall of Malaya and Singapore in 1942. He also left one unfinished novel "The Hill Station", again about India I believe at or just before Partition in 1947.
Happy reading! Andy C.

Post #3 Guest_Jazzeum_*

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 12:42 PM

Thank you both for your recommendations.

 

I see that the Farrell book is issued by the New York Review of Books Classics.  I belong to their monthly book club and you never know what you're going to get but it's never bad.  They publish out of print titles from all over the world.  Every book is first rate.  It's a great way to be exposed to all kinds of different writing.  I will be ordering the Farrell book, just because it's from NYRB Classics. 

 

Brad



Post #4 arnhemjim

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 01:55 PM

Although not strictly focused on the Sepoy/Indian Mutiny the following book has an entire chapter on the subject, "Chapter III - The Army of the Great Mutiny". However the real value of the book to the collector is in the extensive series of extremely accurate colored uniform plates of the Regiments of the British Indian Army executed by Maj A. C. Lovett of the Gloucestshire Regiment, during multiple tours of duty in India. The book is, "ARMIES OF INDIA", Maj. A.C. Lovett and Maj. G.F. MacMunn, DSO, Adam and Charles Black, London, 1911. Obviously long out of print, I have not researched availability. For an example of the plates see: http://www.nam.ac.uk...cc=1953-02-16-1.

Arnhem Jim

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Post #5 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 08:47 AM

"The Siege of Krishnapur" by J.G. Farrell, a Booker Prize winner and a superb novel of one part of the Mutiny...One of my all-time favourite books and a superb story, superbly told!
This author died tragically young in a drowning and wrote a trilogy of books on different aspects of the rise and fall of the British Empire... "Troubles" about Ireland in the early 1920's...the aforementioned "Siege of Krishnapur"...and my own personal favourite..." The Singapore Grip" about the Fall of Malaya and Singapore in 1942. He also left one unfinished novel "The Hill Station", again about India I believe at or just before Partition in 1947.
Happy reading! Andy C.

 

 

Thank you both for your recommendations.

 

I see that the Farrell book is issued by the New York Review of Books Classics.  I belong to their monthly book club and you never know what you're going to get but it's never bad.  They publish out of print titles from all over the world.  Every book is first rate.  It's a great way to be exposed to all kinds of different writing.  I will be ordering the Farrell book, just because it's from NYRB Classics. 

 

Brad

 

I did say it's a "Must Have"....It even features a character called....THE COLLECTOR



Post #6 Andy c. Neilson

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 05:24 PM

Now, how lucky is that Harry..?
Happy reading, Andy C.

Post #7 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 10:06 PM

Now, how lucky is that Harry..?
Happy reading, Andy C.

 

Dunno.

I've always thought that "Collector" tag is a bit creepy. Like something Stephen King would write about.

Happy Whatever

H



Post #8 Andy c. Neilson

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Posted 02 September 2015 - 08:46 AM

Sorry Harry if "collector" creeps you out ...
And I thought you were made of sterner stuff... Happy whatever as you might say, Andy C.

Post #9 Guest_Jazzeum_*

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Posted 02 September 2015 - 09:29 AM

I received the book today and will start it as soon as I'm finished reading the one I am now, Transit by Anna Seghers.  This is another book from the New York Review of Books Classics.  Seeghers was a well known German author and the book, a novel, has to do with refugees attempting to leave Marseilles after the Nazi have taken over France and attempting to get a transit visa although in this case the title of the book refers to both the transitory world refugees found themselves in as well as the narrator's transitory state.

 

See http://www.nyrb.com/...iant=1094932885



Post #10 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 09:54 AM

I downloaded this one two days ago and finished it this afternoon;

boae.jpg

 

http://www.amazon.co...ref_=pd_ybh_a_5

 

Couldn't put it down, and for anyone who want's an intro to the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 ~ 1859 I'd highly recommend it.

Historical fiction -- yes -- but it's full of historical individuals and comes pretty close to following the actual events, within the natural constraints of a novel.

It's fairly graphic, but then so was the Mutiny. Not for those of a "frail" disposition though.

 

Blurb from Amazon;

 

British India, June 1857.

When rumours start circulating of a Sepoy mutiny across India, few in Cawnpore are ready to believe it. Not the ageing General Sir Hugh Wheeler, who believes in the loyalty of his Indian soldiers. Nor teenage Amelia Horne, whose mind is pre-occupied with the British officers of the town. 
But when one of those officers is decapitated by his own Sepoys, there is no escaping the truth. Wheeler has decided against evacuating to the magazine in the north of the city, with its thick walls, ample ammunition and stores. Instead, he entrenches the British in the barracks, determined to wait for news and appear in control. 

But two dilapidated buildings surrounded by a flimsy mud wall provide scant refuge against a blood-thirsty mutiny, organised by Nana Sahib, an aristocrat whose wealth was stripped by the East India Company. The mutiny becomes a siege. 
Bullets, disease, starvation and sunstroke decimate the Europeans. Surrender is inevitable. When surrender is met by treachery and massacre only a handful escape with their lives. 
One of these is Amelia Horne. But the price she pays for her life is one of slavery, and the quality of freedom is as terrible as captivity under sun and shot in the barracks. 

Blood of an Englishman is an exhilarating account of the siege of Cawnpore that blends both fact and fiction. 
 

Praise for Ronald Bassett

‘One of the most impressive things I found about the book was that you got a real feel for the time and place. Scenes set in India or England felt different and I think that's a great achievement.’ – Library Thing 



Post #11 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 03:14 AM

THE MASSACRES AT CAWNPORE.

 

While much of Bassett's "Blood of an Englishman", especially the second half, focuses on the experiences of Amelia Horne, by no means can this be described as a "girly bodice ripper". Given the grim subject matter and graphic detail, that's a no-brainer.

 

The following brief overview is NOT copied and pasted from Bassett's book -- but does cover much of its first half.... B) 

 

Neither side during the Mutiny conducted itself with much honor. The rebels’ wholesale massacre of British and Eurasian civilians had no moral basis, while the British spirit of revenge was more than primitive; it was atavistic. Both sides committed the most appalling atrocities in a conflict which marked the first occasion in which Victorian women found themselves caught up in fighting on a large scale. The most horrifying and infamous of the many massacres perpetrated by the mutineers took place on two occasions – 27 June and 15 July 1857 – during the three-week siege of Cawnpore.

 

Before the Mutiny, Cawnpore was considered an attractive British post, with a club, race-course and assembly rooms for balls and dances.

 

cawnpore1814.jpg

 

The tranquility of this fairly prosperous commercial city was broken on 14 May 1857 by the shocking news that mutiny had broken out at Meerut four days earlier. Notwithstanding the fact that the local Indian garrison outnumbered his British troops by ten to one, Major-General Sir Hugh Wheeler, the commander at Cawnpore, was not especially concerned. While the residents grew increasingly restless and the atmosphere more volatile, Wheeler chose not to incite panic by sending the women and children down river to the safety of Calcutta. When, however, news arrived on the morning of 31 May that mutiny had broken out at Lucknow, he ordered his small garrison and the city’s Europeans into a hastily built entrenchment and the few buildings adjacent, provisioned this woefully inadequate position for a month, and settled down to await relief.

 

The sepoys in Cawnpore, recognizing the obvious weakness of Wheeler’s position, immediately set fire to and sacked the British cantonments, after which, on 6 June, they laid siege to the entrenchment itself, whose buildings were not even extensive enough to protect its occupants from the intense sun.

 

-Destruction_of_a_bungalow_at_Meerut.jpg

 

The vulnerability of the entrenchment soon became clear, for the mutineers quickly mounted siege guns and, by midday on the 7th, the entrenchment became the target of an intense bombardment.

 

highlanders-capturing-the-mutineers-guns

 

Rebels occupied the surrounding buildings, between 300 and 800 yards (274m and 731m) away, and all day a shower of bullets poured down upon the defenders in their exposed position. Shells likewise kept falling all over the entrenchment.…one shell killed seven women as it fell hissing into the trenches and burst. Windows and doors were soon shot off their sockets, and the shot and ball began to play freely through the denuded buildings.

 

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST 



Post #12 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 03:28 AM

CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

 

Massacre at the Satichaura Ghat

 

Understandably, very few first-hand accounts of the two massacres at Cawnpore exist, perhaps the most remarkable being that left by Amelia Horne. She was the 18-year-old step-daughter of a postal worker and the eldest child in a family with three other daughters and two sons, ranging in age from infancy to ten years.

 

The agonies we endured during the siege are indescribable. The men were in the trenches, under the burning rays of a June sun…where the temperature in the shade is as high as 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (43 – 46C). It was not the heat alone that caused intense suffering, but also the lack of food, water, and rest.”

 

indian-sepoy-mutiny-rebellion-uprising-1

 

The garrison, Horne found, did the best that it could to provide for so many mouths to feed. Only a single well supplied fresh water for the defenders, and anyone attempting to draw from it attracted the particular attention of the rebels’ artillery. Even when water was forthcoming, it could only be drunk as sips, for there was no way of knowing how long the garrison would have to hold out. Washing, of course, constituted a luxury no one could afford. As for food, Horne said;

 

“Our troubles hourly increased, and we began to feel the pangs of hunger, our provision-room having shared the same fate as the other parts of the building. My poor little brothers and sisters, wee little things as they were, felt the want of food dreadfully....infants were starved to death on the maternal breasts, which famine had dried of their nourishment. The last meal of any substance consisted of horsemeat as the basis of a meagre soup. Thereafter the occupants were reduced to eating horse fodder once a day, with a small quantity of rum. Many actually went mad owing to the combined stresses of heat, exhaustion, hunger and incessant musket and artillery fire”.

 

th%202.jpg

 

Horne’s mother was one of those driven insane by the appalling conditions;

 

“I used to sit and listen to her ravings, muttered in broken sentences. Her one theme was her mother whom she wanted to see. At one moment she would be calling for a conveyance to take her to her mother, and the next her mind would wander away to something else. Her dreadful affliction rendered me heartbroken”.

 

Conditions degenerated even further when a shell set fire to the thatched roof of a structure crowded with people. Panic ensued and the women and children, fleeing from the building, came under fire from shot and shell. The soldiers, obliged to maintain their positions in the trenches to repel an expected rebel assault, could lend little assistance, and some of the sick and wounded who could not be rescued died in the flames or under the collapsing building. Horne was herself wounded in the head, and, like the other survivors, was obliged to strip her dress of all unnecessary material for the supply of bandages for the mounting numbers of wounded.

 

 

Massacre%20Cawnpore%20July%2015th%201857

 

The entrenchment had by now become a hellish place, with children dying on a daily basis, the supply of medicine exhausted, and the intolerable combination of incessant enemy fire, suffocating heat, flies and the stench of unburied corpses wafting through the entrenchment and the semi-demolished, rat-infested buildings. The occupants remained in this state for three weeks, the men defiantly returning fire, yet the mutineers refusing to assault the place. Finally, on 25 June, Nana Sahib offered the promise of safe passage to Allahabad provided the garrison surrendered its arms. Wheeler and most of his officers were prepared to fight to the death, for despite their desperate plight they still held out hopes of relief.

 

th%201.jpg

 

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST



Post #13 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 04:04 AM

CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

 

Horne described the circumstances under which they considered the offer;

 

th.jpg

 

“The situation was critical in the extreme. On the one side, our numbers were fearfully reduced by death and disease, gunshot, privation, and hunger; our guns had been considerably damaged by the enemy; and even had they not been, they could make no adequate reply to the heavy fire of the enemy’s guns. Our ammunition was fast coming to an end, and our food supply had run out. With starvation staring us in the face, and black despair in our hearts, who could blame the wisdom of the decision that was at last reluctantly arrived at, in favor of capitulation?”

 

On the following day a flag of truce appeared over the entrenchment and the filthy and exhausted occupants – soldiers, women and children – were conducted down to the Ganges at dawn on the 27th.

 

“Behold us as we then appeared, like so many ghosts, tattered, emaciated, and begrimed! Many a woman and child whom I had seen enter with beautiful and smiling countenances now looked old, haggard, desperate and imbecile. There they stood, shoeless and stockingless, and destitute – objects fit to make the angels weep! The old – battered and bruised, like ships that come into port after being buffeted by storms – babbled like children; others had a vacant stare in their eyes, as if they beheld the visions of the future. Many a little child was raving mad, and it was pitiful to see their singular behavior”.

 

The survivors rode down to the river on elephants, escorted by rebel troops, and waded knee-deep into the water to mount the sides of the waiting boats, a process that took two hours, for many were wounded or exhausted. Horne and the others were unaware that treachery was afoot.

 

India_1909_14753085992.jpg

 

Instead of the sepoy crews setting off with their miserable passengers, a signal was given from the shore and they all leaped into the water and waded to the bank, after having first secreted burning charcoal in the thatch of most of the boats.

 

cawnpore-mass.gif

 

“Immediately a volley of bullets assailed us, followed by a hail of shot and grape which struck the boats. The two soldiers seated alongside of me were wounded, and crept into the shelter of the awning to escape being made further targets of. In a few minutes pandemonium reigned. Several of the boats were seen to be wrapped in flames, and the sick and wounded were burnt to death. Some jumped overboard and tried to swim to the opposite shore, but were picked off by the bullets of the sepoys. Others were drowned, while a few jumped into the water and hid behind their boats to escape the pitiless fire. But the guns continued their vile work, and grape and musketry were poured into the last-mentioned people from the opposite bank which soon became alive with rebels who had been placed there to intercept the refugees to that shore. A few succeeded in pushing their boats to the further side of the river, and were mercilessly slaughtered. The native cavalry waded into the river with drawn swords and cut down those who were still alive, while the infantry boarded the boats. The air resounded with the shrieks of the women and children and agonized prayers to God for mercy. The water was red with blood and the smoke from the heavy firing of the cannon and muskets and the fire from the burning boats lay like dense clouds over and around us”.

 

 

no31p10_massacre_cawnpore-e01-hres.jpg

 

Horne was one of the few survivors not brought back into the town with the others. Dragged to the shore by a trooper of the 3rd Bengal Cavalry, she was taken to a hut and given Indian dress which, with her tanned face, enabled her to appear in public without causing notice. Some days later she underwent a ceremony of ritual purification in which she was forcibly converted to Islam (though she never actually foreswore Christianity). After several days she was taken with the rebel army towards Allahabad, in the capacity of a guide – for she knew the route – and was almost rescued by British troops who routed the mutineer column in the course of its march.

 

Eventually she was taken to Lucknow, even while the Residency was under siege, and held prisoner until the appearance of a British relief force in the city forced her captor to flee to his home village on the outskirts of Allahabad, where Horne was released.

She eventually settled near Calcutta, married a railway engineer, and lived the rest of her life in India.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

But not until next week -- got some traveling to do.

Meanwhile, for a more detailed background, Wiki's got a good article here;

https://en.wikipedia...ege_of_Cawnpore



Post #14 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 08:03 AM

Next up?

Why, the Bibighur of course.



Post #15 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 09:55 AM

The “House of Ladies”

 

The surviving women and children, 210 in number, were spared to later face an even worse ordeal. They were marched back to town and incarcerated in a single-storey house, the Bibighur, the "House of Ladies", built by an Englishman for his Indian mistress. Deprived of sustenance and suffering in the July heat, the prisoners weakened. After over two weeks of torment, on 15 July, Nana Sahib received news that a relieving force of British troops was on its way.

 

d65878d84c8c78f0ccb8ae20c5869376.jpg

 

Panicked, Nana ordered the women and children killed.

 

The sepoys dispatched to murder their captors found the task too distasteful, and so Nana ordered in professional butchers who, wearing aprons, showed no qualms in wielding their meat cleavers and swords. Amid the screams and blood, their sword blades broke from overwork. An hour later, they had finished their pitiless task, leaving over 200 dead and dismembered women and children. The following morning, they found three women and three children, aged under seven, covered in blood, quivering beneath the piles of dead bodies. They were thrown, one-by-one, down a 50-foot deep mine shaft, and there suffocated under the weight of corpses and body parts thrown in on top of them.

 

TO BE CONTINUED -- Retribution!





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