Thursday 22 March 2012

An Indian Feast

With my ongoing liking for all things Indian related I was absolutely delighted to relieve myself from the mind numbing torture of endless job applications with the arrival of the three books pictured above, courtesy of the occasional goldmine that is Ebay.

The first is a real treat. Armies of India by Lt. Gen. Sir George MacMunn (ISBN 0947554025) was first published in 1911 and the deceptively innocuous cover conceals a real period piece chock full of gorgeous plates (in the style of the front cover) of a whole variety of Indian Army units - infantry, cavalry and artillery in parade dress or in service attire. The text is written in a style typical of the period but covers a surprising amount of ground from the battle of Plassey up until the turn of the 20th century.

The second id a book club edition of the Philip Mason's classic 1974 account of the history of the Indian army - A Matter of Honour. I read this book years ago and was absolutely enthralled by it and so was really happy to finally acquire a copy. The coverage is similar to the previous title although extends the period up until the end of the Second World War and covers the role of the Indian army during both World Wars but sadly there are no colour plates contained therein!

The final title is on I have been after for an absolute age and completes the trilogy of books concerning the Duke by the American historian, Jac Weller. Wellington in India (ISBN 058212784 x) covers the early campaigns of the so-called 'Sepoy General' against the armies of Mysore and of the Mahrattas. Many years later the Duke was asked what was the best thing he ever did on a battlefield and he answered in a single word: Assaye. For an account of the battle see the following:  Battle of Assaye

I have absolutely no intention of producing armies for this particular campaign although using the blocks is certainly a viable option.

I also own Weller's Wellington in the Peninsula and Wellington at Waterloo and both of these titles are really good single volume histories and are very high up on the list of books I would never part with!

I must confess to being very pleased at these new additions to the Indian section of my library and so will explore the gaming potential in due course - after I have caught up with reading them that is!


Unknown said...

Nice catch !!!

David Crook said...

Hi Jeff,

They are very timely acquisitions and with the exception of the Weller title were also dirt cheap.

I am looking forward to savouring these at leisure rather than on a train journey!

All the best,


Peter Douglas said...


Looks like a set of good reads. I'm pretty sure I've read the Mason book and remember it being very good.

Another great read is Richard Holmes' Sahib


David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

All I need is some Sitar music and I shall be well away!

The Holmes title is excellent and I am a great fan of his work. Riding the Retreat is one of my all time favourite reads.

All the best,


Conrad Kinch said...

Truly an embarrassment of riches. I've always greatly enjoyed the Weller.

David Crook said...

Hi CK,

I have enjoyed both of his other Wellington books although both of these are Greenhill hardbacks. I would have preferred the same for India but beggars can't be choosers!

All the best,