Social history – The British in India: Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience

This 2018 book does not focus on the politics of the British Raj. Neither does it focus on famous politicians. Instead, the spotlight is on the ordinary British individuals who went to work and lived in India from 1600 to the mid-1960s.

Gilmour explores their reasons for going to India, what they did in India and their lives in India. It is in short, a social history of the British hoi polloi in India.

The research is impressive. This book is a useful complement to Gilmour’s earlier and equally impressive book The Ruling Caste.

An equally wonderful book that I would recommend is Sahibs who Loved India compiled by Khushwant Singh. For readers keen to read the history of the British soldier in India I highly recommend Sahib by Richard Holmes.

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