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Black Hole of Calcutta Paperback – Bargain Price, July 30, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Sutton Publishing; New edition edition (July 30, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 0750933895
  • ASIN: B008SM357M
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,610,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Noel Barber (born 1909) is the author of among other titles, The Sultans, The White Desert and A Sinister Twilight.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Willard C. Smith on May 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Noel Barber describes this history as a reconstruction. What he means is that he has had to take all the conflicting accounts and piece together a reasonable description of the events that led to the capture of Calcutta in 1756 by the NaBob, and the nightmarish situation where 146 British subjects were crammed into a 14 foot by 18 foot room. Only 23 people were still alive 10 hours later.
This book describes miscalculations taken by the British and by the Indian Ruler, the bravery, the cowardary, the ignorance, and the brutal attitudes taken by all sides.
Noel Barber does not mince words: the nightmare of the Black Hole could have been avoided over and over again, but the head of the British India Company and the Military Head mismanaged at every turn. They deserted their posts, and even when they had the means of saving the other members of the Fort (without risk to themselves), they refused.
The chapter covering the Night of the Black Hole was disturbing enough that I lost sleep that night. The situation has an unreal aspect to it that makes one wonder about the people who stood on either side of the barred windows that night. Captives and captors exhibited both the best and worst of human nature.
I suppose one would be tempted to claim that the entire story is a type of microcosm of our present world. I pray not.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Israel Galindo on June 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I really didn't have time to read this book, given that I was in the middle of several projects. But once I started, I couldn't put it down. Good descriptive writing. Fascinating character studies pieced together from contemporary sources. Makes an interesting study of leadership (or the lack of it) and human nature. Dark and intriguing, especially because of its historicity.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Klarenka on May 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'd only heard the phrase "the black hole of Calcutta" before as "it's as dark as the black hole of Calcutta in here," never in connection with the real story. I didn't even know it was a real place! Anyways, the true events detailed in this book are enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck--the stupid decisions by the British military and the night spent in the Black Hole especially.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S Wood on July 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Noel Barbers book on the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta is a seriously flawed work. At the beginning he - honestly at least - admits that he has imaginatively reconstructed the history of the event and gives a couple of examples of where he has done this. Apart from this warning, one has no idea where the imagination begins and ends?

The imagination itself has more than a whiff of racial superiority about it, with Oriental stereotypes abound which rapidly become irritating. These are counter balanced by a vivid potrayal of the pathetic Governor and the Head of the Military in Calcutta aswell as countless other functionaries both civil and military.

There are only a few pages to put the events into any context so unless you have existing knowledge of India in the 18th Century you are going to be left a bit high and dry. The interpretation itself is fatally lamed by the racial attitudes and the undefined "imaginative" element. It is quite easy to read - I read it in a couple of sittings - but didnt feel it cast much in the way of light into the infamous Black Hole and the fall of Calcutta. Im sorry I bought the dam thing!
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