The British in this book lived in India from shortly after the reign of Elizabeth I until well into the reign of Elizabeth II. They were soldiers, officials, businessmen, doctors and missionaries of both sexes, planters, engineers and many others, together with children, wives and sisters. This book describes their lives, their work and their extraordinarily varied interactions with the native populations; it also records the very diverse roles they played in the three centuries of British-Indian history. Gilmour writes of people who have never been written about before, men and women who are presented here with humanity and often with humour. The result is a magnificent tapestry of life, an exceptional work of scholarly recovery which reads like a great nineteenth-century novel. It makes a highly original and engaging contribution to a long an important period of British and Indian history.
David Gilmour is one of Britain's most admired and accomplished historical writers and biographers. He is the author of lives of George Curzon (Duff Cooper Prize) and Rudyard Kipling (Elizabeth Longford Prize) and of The Ruling Caste: Imperial Lives in the Victorian Raj, an acclaimed study of the administrators of Victorian India. His other works include The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples, The Last Leopard, a biography of Giuseppe di Lampedusa (Marsh Biography Award) as well as several books on the modern history of Spain and the Middle East. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a former Research Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford.