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4.7 out of 5 stars20
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 26 September 2008
I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone. The book is well written, intelligent and thoroughly researched, it grabs your attention from the first page and does not let go until the end of the book.

The author writes well, but does not assume that you have an in depth knowledge of the mutiny. He explores the situation with the British in India before the mutiny and then looks at what set the mutiny off. One of the many things I liked about this book was that it was not biased. The writer states facts, he neither condemns nor condones the actions of either side in the running battles of the mutiny.

I was aware of the history of the mutiny, but unaware of the details of the situation. This book is an excellent tome for learning about the mutiny, and I feel that anyone with an interest in history should read this. The style of writing and his ability to engage the reader thoroughly would encourage me to read anything else he has written. Please read this book you won't be disappointed.
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on 13 December 2009
If you know practially nothing about the Indian Mutiny - do, do read this. It is a wonderfully written book which takes you through the main episodes principally by reference to first hand accounts, which are skilfully woven together (no mean feat given the confusion which reigned on many occasions). It certainly prvides a great introduction and overview, and is also just an all out excellent read - tension, pathos, even humor (the running competition betwen the younger officers to get VCs come hell or high water would be hilarious, if they didn't then do such amazingly brave things!). If you know quite a bit about the mutiny, I would still recommend it as an enjoyable read, and for the skill with which the individuals' stories are put together. Obviously each of the areas of the mutiny could justify a book in itself - Cawnpore for example makes you wish there was more room for fuller treatment of the siege and the indviduals' stories. But that is a necessary cost of covering the whole mutiny, and does not detract from the value or enjoyability of the book. Read it - and weep.
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on 25 July 2010
Julian Spilsbury's The Indian Mutiny is a cracking account of the sepoy revolt of 1857.

This excellent book is a must read for anyone interested in this event in history. It is an unbiased, place by place, report on set piece battles, and running skirmishes, contre-jour.

Attrocities,savagery,blood and guts on both sides are all in here.

The account of the massacre at Cawnpour is very harrowing,and stark. A particularly nasty bit of deception by a chap named the Nana Sahib, makes sober reading.

The numbers of men involved is quite surprising, some hundreds of thousands of rebels, and, when reinforcements arrived, thousands of british and empire troops.

Quite a number of Victoria Crosses were earned in this one,and given the fierceness and depravity involved one can see why.

A good entertaining read at a good price.The Indian Mutiny
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on 8 February 2012
Spilsbury - a former army officer turned TV script writer - does a good job presenting a complicated story in an interesting and readable way. This is a decent book. If you want to know about the Indian rebellion of 1857, you could do a lot worse. Unfortunately for Spilsbury you could also do a lot better: the outstanding Great Mutiny, by Christopher Hibbert.
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on 18 October 2013
Julian Spilsbury's book "The Indian Mutiny" is a very readable and informative guide to the sepoy mutiny of 1857. His style of writing is very clear and he concentrates on what is important rather than getting bogged down in too much detail. As a result this is a much shorter and more accesible account than say Saul David's book on the subject.

There are a few minor criticisms I would make though, which prevent me from awarding a full five stars. To start with the maps at the begining of the book are copies of period maps reduced down to fit the size of the paperback, and are virtually unreadable as a result. Secondly a glossary would have been helpful as the author refers to a number of terms which may be explained once but are hard to find again. Finally it would have been nice to have had some photographs to refer to showing the places and people described.

Apart from these small issues though "The Indian Mutiny" by Julian Spilsbury is the best book on the subject I have come across and I would highly reccomend it to anyone wanting to know more about this very violent period of British rule in India.
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on 1 September 2013
A very good overview of the Indian Mutiny that is quite neutral in its telling. Nonetheless, it will not escape the readers attention the precarious position that the British found themselves in, nor of the immense task of the soldiers and their leaders in undertaking to restore British rule.

In these days of apologists and overwhelming political correctness, no one could deny that at its most basic, it is an incredible story of bravery and endurance by small numbers of British and loyal Indian troops taking on vastly superior numbers of well trained rebels and succeeding despite the odds.

Despite the modern view of British armies having an easy time against colonial opposition, how anyone with a soul could fail to be inspired by a tiny British army of a few thousand men storming the fortress city of Delhi, inhabited by 30-40 thousand British trained troops and a hostile population, by ordinary soldiers, should form the basis of a Hollywood blockbuster today. (And no doubt if Americans had done anything remotely similar, it would be).

The fact that the soldiers and officers never flinched in undertaking this task, despite attacking through murderous fire, and despite the fact they had to fight their way through an entire hostile city whilst never doubting they would be victorious, (even though even a small failure would have spelt disaster and the end of British rule), is simply breathtaking.

The courage, endurance and the unshakeable belief that they would ultimately win, despite the reader wondering how on earth this could possibly happen, shows how a tiny island nation was able to rule much of the world in time gone by.

Finally, to the hand wringers and apologists of the Empire today, one has to look at results of the Mutiny. The mutual respect between British and Indian troops after the mutiny, the loyalty of Indian soldiers to Britain for nearly a century afterwards and the fact that the Indian army which fought for Britain in WW2 was the largest volunteer army in history. Why is it, we can wonder, why we no longer respect the remarkable achievements of British soldiers and leaders when Indians themselves, despite holding different views, still do?

Read this book an understand how ordinary individuals could build build an Empire.
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on 19 May 2014
There is a lot of detail in the book regarding the military campaign by the British during the mutiny which is what I think makes this book. A lot of precise information regarding sepoy divisions and why they rallied against the British adds to it as generally it is accepted that the cause was greased cartridges. This book goes on to show that there were a number of events that led up to the mutiny. The sections on Delhi and Lucknow in particular are well detailed and go to show that the sepoy revolt lacked real leadership.
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on 23 September 2013
I found this book to be a very readable version of an oft told story. The inclusion of so many personal accounts gives a huge feeling of actually being there, rather than just being yet another rewrite of the bare facts and dates. You cannot but help admire all the combatants on both sides who persevered in their actions in the face of such terrible weather conditions.
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on 20 August 2012
Excellent. This is a very good piece of work that covers the causes, real and otherwise, of the Indian Mutiny. It is a story of neglect, pride and savegery against the backdrop of the searing heat of India in the 1800's. Fast paced and full of detail taken from people who were there and full of suprises.
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on 12 April 2013
This is an excellent book that provides a thorough insight into the events surrounding the Indian Mutiny. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in finding out more about this subject.
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