The Raj was, for two hundred years, the jewel in the British imperial crown. Although founded on military expansionism and undoubted exploitation, it developed over the centuries into what has been called ‘benign autocracy’ – the government of many by few, with the active collaboration of most Indians in recognition of a desire for the advancement of their country.
Charles Allen’s classic oral history of the period that marked the end of British rule was first published a generation ago. Now reissued as the imperial century closes, this brilliantly insightful and bestselling collection of reminiscences illustrates the unique experience of British India: the sadness and luxury for some; the joy and deprivation for others.
If you read one book about the empire, let this be it