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Great Mutiny: India 1857 Paperback – August 28, 1980

ISBN-13: 978-0140047523 ISBN-10: 0140047522

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: South Asia Books (August 28, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140047522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140047523
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

12 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Christopher Hibbert is, in the words of the TES, 'perhaps the most gifted popular historian we have'. His books include THE DESTRUCTION OF LORD RAGLAN (which won the Heinemann Award for Literature in 1962); LONDON: THE BIOGRAPHY OF A CITY and THE VIRGIN QUEEN: THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF ELIZABETH I and THE MARLBOROUGHS (Viking 2001). Christopher Hibbert is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is married with two sons and a daughter and lives in Henley-on-Thames.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By edward gresser on December 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
A British-centered but fair account of the war that brought down the British East India Company.
Hibberts opens with a set-piece describing the opulent lifestyle of a 19th-century British official in Delhi named Thomas Metcalfe - three-story brick house with classical colonnade, brass band, tables with their legs set in water to keep off the red ants, a 10 to 2 work-day -- and goes on from there to describe the unhappiness of the Bengal Army and the explosion in the Meerut garrison; the capture of Delhi by the Meerut sepoys, the troubled reaction of the 82-year-old King, and the ensuing British siege; memorable events in Lucknow, Kanpur and Jhansi, etc; and the eventual British victory. Beautifully sourced from contemporary diaries, letters, and testimony to various boards of inquiry; sympathetic to and critical of both sides at various times.
One can quibble - more Indian sources would be appreciated, and it would be interesting to learn the reason the Bengal Army revolted while the armies of Madras and Bombay did not - but we should not complain that Hibberts did not write a different book.
This seems to me precisely what the previous reviewer has done in berating Hibberts for not writing a denunciation of British rule in India. Adding to this the respectively goofy and outrageous accusations that the British introduced bribery to India, and that their government can be compared with that of the Nazis in occupied Europe, simply makes him look hysterical.
The fact is, India has been independent for fifty years, & the EIC was abolished a century before that. The fight is long over & surely we can do our best to describe events as they happened, and judge people, both British and Indians, based on the times in which they lived. I believe Hibberts tries to do so.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Deos Volt on April 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Mr. Hibbert's book, although short on the factors of the the causes of the Mutiny, gives a good view from the British point of view. He is hampered by the fact that most of the Indian view was written AFTER 1948 and the lack of contempory mutineer accounts.

He correctly points out that the Indian Mutiny was NOT a "national rebellion" against British rule but a mutiny of SOME of the regiments in the Bengal Army (the VAST majority of Indians remained loyal to the British). He also remembers that the majority of the forces used by the British were INDIAN and Sikhs. By cutting through the revisionist clap-trap, Mr, Hibbert shows the reader a refreshingly accurate view of the actions in the Indian Mutiny.

Unfortunatly, his analysis falls short on the overall picture but focuses on individual accounts. He is a bit long-winded on unimportant details and then tries to make them fit into the grand scheme, which sometimes doesn't quite fit. He dwells on the truly barbaric nature of the mutineers toward unarmed civilians, particularly women and children, but glosses over the fact that the vast majority of their victims were their own countrymen (so much for a so-called struggle for freedom!).

But the strength of the book is his unashamed telling of the Indian Mutiny as what it WAS - with all the brutallity and desperation of the rebels against a shocked, angered and, yes, finally brutal European population and military. The reactions of the British to the mutineers are correctly shown IN CONTEXT to the times they took place and might shock those who know (or care) little of the mid 19th century world and their views of "justice" in any nation.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed reading this book. The book covers in great detail the underlying causes for the mutiny. Describes the British battle strategies, their general thinking process. Shows how disjointed and disunited the Indian soldiers were at that time (with poor communications and lack of a broad strategy).
This is my first book on the Indian Mutiny. It was excellent history lesson for me. The book braodly covers all the mutiny episodes.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Peter M. on April 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Until recently I had never heard of the Great Mutiny, till surfing the web one night I came across a reference to it. It sounded interesting, so I decided to pick up a book on the subject. The Great Mutiny: India 1857 is a must read on this topic. It is told mostly through first hand accounts of the participants of this tragic event. Hibbert's research is thorough, and his story telling is first rate. He does not judge, he tells a story. Never does the story lag, and his descriptive powers give you a good feel for the time and place. I must say that this story is told mostly from the british perspective and many of the accounts reflect the british prejudices of the day. The only criticism I have is Hibbert could have explained the hindu and muslim religions a little more in-depth as they were a major cause of the mutiny. I could not put this book down. This book is so well written I had to get Hibbert's Book; Wellington: A personal history
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James Tocci on January 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is not so much a political view of the sepoy revolt rather it is a series of first hand accounts which bring every engagment to life. Very easy to read I finished it in record time. I looked closely for any prejudice on the authors side, but although he focused primarily on the british side he gave a fair account of both sides. Telling more of the causes of the war, would, in my opinion be the only way to improve this book.
This is first and only book I've read by the author, but it's certenly not the last.
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