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Download Our Bones Are Scattered: The Cawnpore Massacres and The Indian Mutiny Of 1857 epub

by Andrew Ward

Book by Ward, Andrew
Download Our Bones Are Scattered: The Cawnpore Massacres and The Indian Mutiny Of 1857 epub
ISBN: 0805024379
ISBN13: 978-0805024371
Category: Politics
Subcategory: Social Sciences
Author: Andrew Ward
Language: English
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (April 15, 1996)
Pages: 736 pages
ePUB size: 1424 kb
FB2 size: 1236 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 109
Other Formats: azw mbr lit mobi

Golden Lama
If you like military history, this book is an indispenable read about the siege and subsequent massacres at Cawnpore during the Indian Mutiny. The author makes the story very dramatic and readable, even though it is meticulously researched and abounds in footnotes. It is not an easy read but it is a very worthwhile read. Don't forget to reference the footnotes, as they will add to the experience. The Indian Mutiny was more of a mutiny by native soldiers and cavalry than it was a popular uprising, but contemporary Indian accounts tend to characterize it as the latter in an attempt to paint it as the first spark of independence for the country. While the book's emphasis is on the events at Cawnpore, which would prove to be a catalyst for British revenge and an iron-handed continuation of British rule over India, the book also is an excellent overview of the entire Mutiny. If this interests you, follow-up by reading about the siege of Lucknow or the storming of Delhi. A fascinating era of history which helps explain how things are now in the Indian sub-continent.
This is an excellent book, but tough to plow through because of the subject matter, The author has done his research very well, in spite of the great limitations on the available information on the UPRISING (NOT "Mutiny"!) of 1857.

The trouble with writing a history of the 1857 Uprising is that the history, is as usual, written by the victor...the British. Thus, the stories contained in Wards excellent work, are gory and ghastly details written by the British people in India at the time, with all the emotional embellishments that create horrific representations of Indian and heart-rending versions of the sufferings of the British. Ward does an excellent job presenting some of the practices of the pre-1857 British who used Indian women as their Company-paid-for concubines, the humiliations of the Indians and the devious ways in which "The Company" managed to separate the Indians from their lands. The precursors and causes if you will, of The Uprising.

Ward cannot be blamed for writing the book from an English perspective because that is all that is available. After the Uprising was brutally suppressed and the British began their rapes, looting and mass slaughters...certainly of hundreds of thousands of Indians...It follows that any written records from the Indian perspective, would have been regarded as "mutinous" and the writer and probably their whole family, would have been summarily killed. It is quite certain that even if such records had been written, they were quickly put to fire when the Indians saw how the British raged through India for a good two years after the Uprising was suppressed.

That said, this book left me wishing for some little material that would draw the focus on how savagely the Indians were dealt with after the 1857 Uprising. Ward touches on some of those details, but seems to gloss over them in haste, a far cry from the detailed listings of the tortures and privations suffered by the British men, women and children.

All in all, this is still an excellent book for anyone who wishes to learn about that brief but terrible period in Indian history because there is os little to be found. The West only seems to recognize the Uprising as a "Mutiny" which was rightfully putdown by a determined, but legitimate government, Some of us from that area, know better and this book explains it a lot more. It is an excellent read from a historical perspective, for anyone from India as well. A real eye-opener, in spite of the relative dearth of detail from the Indian experience.
I have always found military history fascinating. Unfortunately my knowledge of the Great Mutiny has been lacking. I found this an excellent look at the beginnings and causes of the Great Mutiny of 1857. Mr. Ward makes good use of primary sources, first person accounts and has a nice turn of phrase. In this volume he specifically looks at Cawnpore and the resulting massacres of the garrison and the motivations it gave to the Imperial troops. “Remember Cawnpore” became their battle cry, much like “Remember the Alamo” was used by the Texans in their War of Independence from Mexico the 1830s.

Mr. Ward not only looks at the causes of the Mutiny, he explores the unpreparedness of the British in general and at Cawnpore specifically and the reasons behind that lack of preparation. He also provides good biographical sketches of the main participants on both sides. In telling the story he is remarkably even handed. To modern sensibilities, no one comes out looking good. The killings by both side was horrific. His description of the killings of the women and children, more than 160, held by the Nana Sahib in July of ’57 is especially hard reading.

In exploring the causes of the Mutiny, Mr. Ward discusses the role religion played. Not only was there a problem with the ammunition the Native Regiments were issued, but there was a fear of force conversion to Christianity that native rebel leaders used to great effect. Also the East India Company had just annexed several Indian Monarchies, putting them under Company control causing discontent esp in the ruling classes

For those that don’t know, the Sepoy regiments were issued new rifles and ammunition. That ammo was coated in either beef or pork fat, which was an anathema to the Hindu and Moslem soldiers respectively. The author makes a good case that, while ammunition issue was important, it was more of a tipping point. He makes a good case that the other issues were festering and much more important.

Cawnpore became a supposed safe refuge from the Mutiny and refuges flocked there. In telling the story of the siege and following massacres – there were two, one immediately after the surrender where most of the adult males were killed in an ambush. The surviving woman and children were taken prisoner and held until the British relief forces were closing in, about 3 weeks later. The author does an excellent job of telling the stories of both the defenders and the attackers of the station of Cawnpore. He also follows people who didn’t actually make it to Cawnpore, but were caught up in the Mutiny. The author also tells what happened to many of the survivors, both Indian and British, which I found interesting.

The author provides excellent footnotes and some of the best stories are contained in those notes

The only problem I had with this book is its lack of a glossary. The author uses Indian terms extensively and it can get confusing.