Home : Who's Who : Information : Entertainment : Publications : Fitness : Directory : Multimedia : MMA : Forums : Links


CompleteMartialArts.com - The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857 (Vintage)

The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857 (Vintage)
List Price: $16.95
Our Price: $11.53
Your Save: $ 5.42 ( 32% )
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Manufacturer: Vintage
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5

Buy it now at Amazon.com!

Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 954.0317
EAN: 9781400078332
ISBN: 1400078334
Label: Vintage
Manufacturer: Vintage
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 592
Publication Date: 2008-03-11
Publisher: Vintage
Release Date: 2008-03-11
Studio: Vintage

Related Items

Editorial Reviews:

In this evocative study of the fall of the Mughal Empire and the beginning of the Raj, award-winning historian William Dalrymple uses previously undiscovered sources to investigate a pivotal moment in history.

The last Mughal emperor, Zafar, came to the throne when the political power of the Mughals was already in steep decline. Nonetheless, Zafar—a mystic, poet, and calligrapher of great accomplishment—created a court of unparalleled brilliance, and gave rise to perhaps the greatest literary renaissance in modern Indian history. All the while, the British were progressively taking over the Emperor's power. When, in May 1857, Zafar was declared the leader of an uprising against the British, he was powerless to resist though he strongly suspected that the action was doomed. Four months later, the British took Delhi, the capital, with catastrophic results. With an unsurpassed understanding of British and Indian history, Dalrymple crafts a provocative, revelatory account of one the bloodiest upheavals in history.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Masterful, Commanding, Brilliant History
Comment: Having just returned from Delhi and a "tour" of the Red Fort, I found myself on a rainy week-long vacation in New Hampshire. I had purchased this book months ago and finally decided to read it. I wish I had done so before my long journey to India, as "The Last Mughal" provides an amazingly exhaustive and massively detailed wealth of information on 19th century Delhi, the Fort, and the incredible uprising of 1857, which would have enriched my "tour" beyond measure. Our "guide" on my "tour" through the Fort, in oppressive heat, was more intent on informing us of the lurid details regarding the harems, the water, milk, and perfume baths, and the golden throne that was stolen from the Mughal's hands in 1739 by Persian invaders because the Mughal was too busy diddling away his time rather than ruling his empire. This comic guide also said, "I make you happy, you make me happy" and then made off with way too many rupees and dollars from our too kind group for his boffo tour. Such is the way of naive western tourists and shrewd Delhi citizens.

Dalrymple, whose goal here is to reveal the contents of some 20,000 otherwise untouched Persian and Urdu documents from this period of history, constructs this history in such convincing detail that one feels the events unfolding in real time. Dalrymple speaks to the causes of the sepoy (Indian infantry private) uprising and the declaration of a jihad. He suggests the Victorian Evangelicals and their missionary zeal contributed heavily in changing the cultural atmosphere. Complete disregard for native beliefs and the treatment of natives as less than human surely didn't help. Dalrymple also presents the violent vengeance and genocide perpetrated by the British on every living soul in Delhi after the sepoys, through their own poor tactics and lack of an intelligence network, blew their very real chances at total victory. Others here have criticized the author's so-called slanted view of these events, his failure to dwell on the unjust rule of the Mughals, and his overly heavy emphasis on missionaries as a prime cause of the unrest.

I disagree with these criticisms. This book is a collection of facts, as gathered together from historical documents. What is history but what can be surmised from contemporary documentation? The historian's burden is to put these facts in chronological order and in so assembling them, attempt to recreate a sequence of events. As has been said, history is written by the victors, but in this case, Dalrymple has provided another point of view. Its accuracy is undeniable in light of its sources. Where does "the truth" lie? That is for the reader to decide. All I can say is this book is a major contribution to what we know and for that we should be appreciative.

I also appreciate the inclusion of the Glossary, which I referred to many times, and the maps, which were very useful.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Superb portrait of Mughal Delhi and its destruction in 1857
Comment: This magnificent book is based on Persian and Urdu documents in India's National Archives. It vividly portrays Mughal Delhi and its destruction in 1857. The last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar II (1775-1862), was at the heart of a court of great brilliance, home of `the greatest literary renaissance in modern Indian history'. Architectural historian James Ferguson called his palace `the most splendid palace in the world'.

Dalrymple shows that the Uprising resulted from the Raj's growing racism and hatred, its `steady crescendo of insensitivity'. Its arrogant schemes to impose Evangelical Christianity and Christian laws on India `ushered in the most obnoxious phase of colonialism'.

The uprising was `along distinct class lines', with workers to the fore. It was the most serious armed challenge to imperialism in the 19th century, posed to the world's greatest military power. Dalrymple notes the rebels' military, strategic, administrative, logistical and financial failings and their war crimes. But the accusations of rape by the rebels were false: the official inquiry found not a single case of rape; the only mass rapes were by British soldiers after the reconquest of Delhi.

He reveals for the first time `the full scale of the viciousness and brutality of the British response', as detailed in the records of the revived British administration. "The orders were to shoot every soul. ... It was literally murder ... Heaven knows I feel no pity ..." wrote British officer Edward Vibart. Colonel A. R. D. Mackenzie boasted that we "exterminated them as men kill snakes wherever they meet them." After killing three unarmed captive princes, Captain William Hodson wrote to his sister, "I am not cruel, but I confess I did enjoy the opportunity of ridding the earth of these wretches."

Lieutenant Charles Griffiths wrote of John Clifford, the former collector of Gurgaon, "He shook my hands, saying that he had put to death all he had come across, not excepting women and children, and from his excited manner and the appearance of his dress - which was covered with blood stains - I quite believe he told the truth." Governor-General Lord Canning told Queen Victoria that the British forces displayed `a rabid and indiscriminate vindictiveness'.

Palmerston said that Delhi should be deleted from the map, `levelled to the ground'. British forces sacked, looted and emptied Delhi and massacred great swathes of its people. Much of the palace and its surrounding areas were razed. Most of its leading inhabitants were killed or transported to die in the Raj's new Andaman Islands camp for 10,000 prisoners. As far as the Mughal elite were concerned, the British response was `approaching a genocide' and `would today be classified as grisly war crimes'.

Dalrymple sums up, "That massacre of the inhabitants of Delhi, commanded and justified in the eyes of Victorian Evangelicals by their reading of the Christian scriptures. ... `In the city no one's life was safe,' wrote Muin ud-Din Husain Khan. `All able-bodied men who were seen were taken for rebels and shot.' Ghalib, who had disliked the sepoys from the beginning, was now no less horrified by the barbarity of the returning British. `The victors killed all whom they found on the streets,' he wrote in Dastanbuy. `When the angry lions entered the town, they killed the helpless and weak and they burned their houses. Mass slaughter was rampant and streets were filled with horror. It may be that such atrocities always occur after conquest.'"

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Commendable Research
Comment: I have read almost all of Dalrymple's books and have enjoyed his impeccable style of narrative. His descriptions take you for why you read his subjects: to walk into history with him following his zest for showing you what other historian will not. His "City of Djinns" (a portrait of Delhi) and "From the Holy Mountain" (his travels to what was Eastern Byzantium, visiting the dying culture of monasteries, etc) and are very well-written and absorbing, specially for me who has never been to Delhi or the present day Turkey, reading both these books was an experience of unimaginable insight.

The Last Mughal is Dalrymple's combination of style with heaps of incredible research, his reference to the 20,000 or so Mutiny Papers in the National Archives in India were something that no other researcher laid his hands on. Dalrymple has smartly dealt with the Delhi during mutiny in microcosm of what the ordinary citizen felt or went through, so much so that he has cast his "net" on people such as sweetmeat shop owners, courtesans, weavers, bird-catchers etc. His research doesn't end here but goes further to Lahore, from where he culled out papers, notes and letters from British General who masterminded the siege of Delhi when it was surrounded by the rebellious sepoys. It is with his indefatigable research and with his years of experience on this subject, that he has produced the Last Mughal and one wonders in awe of its sheer size and volume.

If you're really interested in knowing the socio-political climate of Delhi during the Mutiny (in 1857) and after that read this book to get a hold of the period and also enjoy Dalrymple's best work to date.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: The Last Mughul: the author's style is refreshing in some aspects.
Comment: While I was not familiar with this author, the book's title seemed interesting. Although I am a life commited student of history, more than an overview, India's past was a mystery. After the first chapter, I was searching for other titles by the author. Unfortunately, the majority are paperback.

Written by a "boot on the ground," many passages are heart breaking. To the spoils, the conquerer, I suppose; but such epic forms of art from poetry to the palace of a thousand columns were not considered worthy to preserve. The Last Mughal has renewed my respect for the people of India and left me to want more.

A nicely hard bound book at a very reasonable price filled with information by someone who lived much of it, I cannot recommend this work enough. William Dalrymple is an author now added to those who's labors I seek out and an admirable addition to my library.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Mutiny and Revenge
Comment: What a remarkable book. A very thorough retelling of the 1857 mutiny by Indian troops against the British at Delhi, how it so nearly succeeded in driving the British out of northern India, and the terrible revenge wrecked by the British army once they again had the uppper hand.

The author has written extensively about India and Delhi in particular. His familiarity with the site and its history contributes greatly to the success of this book. He manages a huge cast of characters, both British and Indian, identifies the issues of the day and brings the reader right into the action. While not a military history, it features some of the best writing about battle scenes I have ever read.

Buy it now at Amazon.com!

Top 50 Martial Arts Topsites List

Copyright � 1999-2008 CompleteMartialArts.com. All rights reserved.
powered by My Amazon Store Manager v 2.0, © Stringer Software Solutions