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The Indian Empire At War

The Indian Empire At War

‘Essential to a proper understanding of the war and of our world of today’ Michael Morpurgo

1.5 million Indians fought with the British in the First World War – from Flanders to the African bush and the deserts of the Islamic world, they saved the Allies from defeat in 1914 and were vital to global victory in 1918. Using previously unpublished veteran interviews, this is their story, told as never before.
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Genre: Biography & True Stories

On Sale: 28th May 2020

Price: £12.99

ISBN-13: 9780349141848


An outstanding book that brings to life the experiences of Indian soldiers in all of the theatres of WWI, from German colonies in China and Africa to the Middle East and the Western Front. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, George Morton-Jack restores the Indian Army to its rightful place in the history of the Great War
Eugene Rogan, author of The Fall of the Ottomans
The Indian Army's role in World War I is perhaps the least understood dimension of that global conflict. Although the centenary of the war sparked off some interest in the stories of these soldiers, there has been no sustained examination of their experiences. Army of Empire fills this void in our historical understanding admirably and comprehensively. Widely researched and vividly written, George Morton-Jack's account of the Indian Army's crucial contribution to the Allied victory is unlikely to be surpassed any time soon
Srinath Raghavan, author of India’s War
Morton-Jack puts in painstaking effort into piecing together the lives of these intrepid warriors who lived in a tumultuous, topsy- turvy age . . . This historian's account is thorough and painfully blunt . . . The indictment of British rule in India is readily apparent
Anuja Chandramouli, New Indian Express
Absorbing and welcome . . . explores a remarkably diverse fighting force of 1.5 million men of all castes and creeds . . . This book is a fitting testament to the sacrifices they made
Revelatory . . . fluent and colourful . . . This book describes the war as a worldwide conflict involving a million Indian soldiers [and] shows how crucial they were to Allied success
Andrew Lycett, Telegraph
Every chapter contains a wealth of evocative contemporary reflections from and about men who represented a "uniquely multicultural" army . . . A fascinating socio-cultural history
Chandrika Kaul, BBC History Magazine
Essential to a proper understanding of the war and of our world of today. A much needed book
Michael Morpurgo
Fits the Indian experience superbly into the overall Great War narrative
Andrew Roberts, BBC History
Readable, important, and fills a gap that should have been dealt with long ago
Professor Sir Michael Howard, author of The First World War
Morton-Jack skilfully presents the reader with the first comprehensive telling of the Indian story and places it in a global context . . . Morton-Jack's work is magisterial and yet immensely readable. This is the book for anyone interested in an authentic broad-based account of the role played by India and its soldiers in the defining conflict of the twentieth century . . . The book is remarkable in having used, for the first time, thousands of pages of interview transcripts of Indian veterans of the war, recorded in the 1970s
Rana Chhina, India Today
A splendid book . . . A multi- layered, rigorously researched and empathetically interpreted account of the Indian contribution to the Great War. The author's objective of shining "a more filtered light on the Indian soldiers" is luminously met . . . Morton-Jack, to his credit, does not shy away from recording the cruel face of the colonial ruler
Chitrapu Uday Bhaskar, Hindustan Times
The Indian Empire at War is a pioneering study that looks at 1914-18 from the perspective of South Asia. Beautifully written, Morton-Jack's book provides a vital corrective to accounts of the Great War and its aftermath that only look at the world of Europe, from Europe
Peter Frankopan
Extraordinarily original
Max Hastings
The Indian Army was of absolutely crucial importance to Britain in the First World War, but that simple fact has too often been neglected. Impeccably researched and very well written, George Morton-Jack's book should go a long way to rectifying this case of historical amnesia
Gary Sheffield
A tour de force . . . Morton- Jack writes with an easy flowing grace to expose a veritable chasm of under- explored Great War history: The Indian Empire at War incisively summarises the entirety of India's contribution to the British war effort, excels in its treatment of the Western Front, and challenges many shibboleths. Overall Morton- Jack brings refreshing new perspectives on the Indian Army as a war- winning machine, exposing the cruel nature and sheer brutality of the British colonial regime the Indian soldiers served, and laying bare the endemic racism they shamefully suffered
Peter Hart
Quite a story with an excellent cast of characters - the deserter brothers Mir Dast VC and Mir Mast, the tragic figure of General Willcocks, and so many more fill out the vast canvas
Peter Weir
Eloquent, scholarly and impressive
David Gilmour
Meticulously researched and robustly argued, George Morton- Jack's The Indian Empire at War not only secures the Indian soldiers and non- combatants a firm foothold on the military map of the First World War but reconfigures the very contours of that map in its imperial contexts and extra- European theatres. Erudite and expansive, this deeply impressive military account of the Indian Army is at once a labour of love, an important intervention and an engrossing read
Santanu Das
Wonderfully written and authoritative . . . Global in reach and packed full of fascinating stories
Alexander Watson
A highly original account of the First World War. For a hundred years India, as the British Empire's "jewel in the crown" and principal garrison, has not been accorded a dedicated history of its own military contribution to the global war that broke out in 1914. Now George Morton- Jack's extremely readable narrative provides the first
Hew Strachan
An outstanding book that brings to life the experiences of Indian soldiers in all of the theatres of the First World War... Morton- Jack restores the Indian Army to its rightful place in the history of the Great War
Eugene Rogan
An impressive, humane, and myth-busting book
Allan Mallinson, Spectator
A lively history of the Indian Army in all its tragedies, difficulties and occasional triumphs . . . reveals the touching humanity of the Indian soldier
Ian Jack, Guardian
Morton-Jack has given a voice to hundreds of thousands of soldiers who fought overseas for an Empire and would be widely forgotten from the UK to India and Pakistan. Important and moving
Dan Snow
Superb . . . utterly compelling
Jessie Childs, History Today