9780316610728 / 0316610720

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About the book:

When Robert Clive, a "harum-scarum schoolboy" not yet out of his teens, arrived in India in 1744, he found himself in the middle of chaos: English merchants fought against French traders, Indian princes warred among themselves, Portuguese and Dutch privateers plied the coasts, and throughout the country, anarchy reigned. Clive flourished amid the confusion. He quickly distinguished himself both in battle, showing bravery and unusual presence of mind, and in trade. The combination was profitable for his employer, the East India Company, and although Clive committed suicide in the wake of political scandal in 1774, he set in motion what would become the British conquest of India and the establishment of the Raj, a mixed form of government in which the English ruled through a network of Indian politicians and civil servants. Outwardly stable, the Raj was constantly under threat both by Indian aspirations to self-rule and by other imperialists' intrigues, notably on the part of Russia, Britain's chief competitor in what would come to be called "the great game." Lawrence James, a longtime student of British military history, offers a sweeping, and wholly absorbing, narrative account of the Raj, taking it from Clive's time to the era of Mahatma Gandhi and the flamboyant Viscount Mountbatten, the last British viceroy of India. --Gregory McNamee

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