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The Story of the Malakand Field Force - An Episode of the Frontier War Paperback – May 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1604502237 ISBN-10: 1604502231

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Arc Manor (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604502231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604502237
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,773,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Best type of history.
Miquel
Churchill also gives excellent accounts of a number of battles.
-_Tim_-
I found this a fascinating read.
Old Guy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jetpack on September 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a review of the free Kindle version of the Sir Winston S. Churchill report of the Indian Frontier War of 1897. Churchill got himself leave as a cavalry officer so he could report on this for a newspaper. Imagine doing that now!

This was only 114 years ago, but it reads as from another planet. The discussion of whether the cavalry should use lance or sword, even the discussion of the length of the spear.

Churchill's full force defense of burning Afghan villages is very interesting with our 21st century morals.

Churchill also didn't think highly of the residents of the Swat Valley (Part of Pakistan now) or the Afghans. He takes plenty of opportunities to talk about how they are barbarians. Even says outright that the elderly are killed once they can't pull a trigger!

The first hand details of the battles are quite remarkable. You have to give Churchill credit in that he did think that native troops should be eligible for the Victoria Cross, though he does think the heart of a British/Indian unit is the Brits, of course.

No maps, but well worth reading for any fan of history. You also miss out on the casualty reports.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Bacon on January 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is always interesting to read one of the first works of a great author, and certainly this is a fine example. In the Malakand Field Force, Churchill presents--as always--as much of himself as he does of the subject at hand; he also presents the society that he was brought up in, and for the modern reader that can be half the matter at hand. While the excruciating late-Victorian racial condescension drips from every page and chart, you also get to hear Churchill setting forth his very strong sense that people are what they make of themselves, and that (for instance) soldiers other than those born in Britain ought to be eligible for the Victoria Cross--after all, no matter their race, their bravery and contributions were no less.

But then back to polo and how it helped build those lieutenants into the young men they were. Oh, and they had the Maxim gun...

Overall, a fine historical piece and the free version for the Kindle suffers only slightly from a few hard-to-read charts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By -_Tim_- on March 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Story of the Malakand Field Force, by Winston Churchill, is a primary history source of great interest for its analysis of the sociology of what is now the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region and its description of frontier warfare at the end of the 19th century. At the outset of the punitive military campaign launched by the Malakand Field Force, Churchill was in his mid twenties, a cavalry officer serving in India. Afraid of missing the adventure, he took six weeks of leave from his unit to follow the force as a press correspondent. His observations about the tribesmen are of considerable value even now, a century later, but his racial and nationalistic chauvinism is unattractive to a modern reader.

The sociological analysis focuses on what we would now call non-cooperative survival strategies or a lack of social capital. It would be hard to improve on the quality of Churchill's writing, so I will provide a series of quotations:

* "The abundant crops which a warm sun and copious rains raise from a fertile soil, support a numerous population in a state of warlike leisure. Except at times of sowing and of harvest, a continual state of feud and strife prevails throughout the land. Tribe wars with tribe. The people of one valley fight with those of the next. To the quarrels of communities are added the combats of individuals. Khan assails khan, each supported by his retainers.

* Every tribesman has a blood feud with his neighbor. Every man's hand is against the other, and all are against the stranger."

* "The weapons of the nineteenth century are in the hands of savages of the Stone Age."

* "The strong aboriginal propensity to kill, inherent in all human beings, has in these valleys been preserved in unexampled strength and vigor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Old Guy on July 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this a fascinating read. The similarities of that colonial war with the present American conflict in the region and the inability of even the Pakistani goverment (in a sense a colonial government created by partition) to civilize the tribesmen. The Afghans supported the tribesman then and likely still do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ray on March 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To say that Winston Churchill had a way with words would be rather obvilious. But the words are late 1800's vintage and depart a certain charm to the narrative. As to the subject matter, some things, unfortunately, never change. Here we are well over 100 years later, relearning and enduring the same hardships and bloddy lessons that the British encountered. "Lessons Learned" abound in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Agim Zabeli on March 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
1897: The Northwest Frontier of British India, the infamous `tribal areas' of Pakistan that still vex the news today, is in one of its periodic eruptions. The Empire reacts and local events get interesting for a time. The modern technology of the telegraph brings the proceedings into the drawing rooms of London and for a (very) short while this bloody episode engages the attention of the world. Winston Churchill - some aristocratic young cavalry officer, contracted as a war correspondent - records it in detail for posterity in the workmanlike and literary style which will become the trademark of his writing. Churchill wrote this book at an age when, if he were an American alive today, he would still be covered by his parents health insurance.

This book (I read the free Kindle edition) is well worth the read for anyone that wants a quick, well-written immersion in the British Empire of the late 19th Century. Among all the jewels of period detail that abound, for instance, the brief biography of the officer commanding the British force is not to be missed. You will think it must have been made up, and it's hard to imagine any modern author or Hollywood screenwriter daring to create such a figure, let alone giving him his ancestry and then naming him: Brigadier-General Sir Bindon Blood, K.C.B.

Churchill's enthusiastic love of Queen and country certainly shines through. But this book is written by a thoughtful, perceptive, and intelligent man, unashamed (in fact, proud) to set his own views to paper, but well aware of the fact that many people disagree with him.
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