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Out in the Midday Sun: The British in Malaya 1880-1960 Hardcover – 29 Jun 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 441 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; 1st ed edition (29 Jun. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071955716X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719557163
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 650,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

The author mingles family memories with historical insight to explore a corner of Empire often ignored by modern writers (Contemporary Review)

Margaret Shennan ... succeeds in this ambitious project quite brilliantly ... This book is highly recommended (Guards Magazine)

Book Description

Through memoirs, letters and interviews this text chronicles events and explores the anomalies and conflicts of the British rule in Malaysia from 1880 to 1960.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a scholarly work but it should attract many general readers. The author writes about a country she knows: she was spent her childhood in Malaya where her father worked from 1926 to 1953. (She earlier published her account of her Malayan childhood under the title of Missee.) She employs a limpid, easy style and relies a lot on the approach of menu peuple: there are many private-life details to set off the historical account and the bibliography and notes show that a huge range of personal sources has been used. In addition, readers with experience of the country during the later colonial period are likely to have known some of the personalities mentioned, such as Jimmy Hislop (planter turned guerrilla commander) and the legendary joker “Puck” Puckridge. The Dorothy Nixon whom one knew as the endlessly helpful secretary of Kuala Lumpur Book Club must be she who is noted as having been interned by the Japanese in Singapore. There are many such leads but even a general reader will be interested in earlier “characters” such as Captain Tristram Speedy “who stood six feet five, sported Abyssinian garb, played the bagpipes, and brought his own sepoys from India to quell the riotous miners of Larut.” Another person belonging to fable was Frenchman Leopold Chasseriau whose services, rather like those of James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak, were sought by local rulers to quell piracy.
There are a few errors, for example a photograph purporting to feature “the future Prime Minister of Malaya” seems, in fact, to show the first Agong (elected Paramount Ruler). An omission is perhaps the importance of oil palm planting during the latter part of the period.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting enough account of the British expatriate community that lived in Malaya during this period. This books is by no means a classic but covers the topic pretty well. It portrays well the complacency and then shock that occurred when the Japanese armed forces overran Malaya during WW2 and the savagery that followed. It also brought the famous 'rubber men' to life well.
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Format: Paperback
This is quite an interesting read of the colonial days gone by, but it is certainly not a critical look at that time. It tends to be much more forgiving of past events that today would be questionable. For example, in the (very interesting) chapter entitled Private Lives, Public Lives, the author mentions that while homosexuality was frowned on in colonial circles, there was enough abuse of hired "coolies" to prompt concern from the (British) gov't official appointed to protect local interersts. This is mentioned in a few lines but never probed. As is the attitude toward Eurasians--again obviously an uncomfortable subject at the time, but not tackled here at all. Even when the author quotes sources who themselves are quite unforgiving of the attitudes or behaviour of the people of the time, the author is very quick to gloss over that behaviour. She quotes the memoirs of a Lillian Newton, citing the raucous behaviour that went on, but then chooses not to see this as the "norm". Perhpas it's because she was obviously part of that world. If you can look past this, it remains an interesting read of colonial hubris.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved this meticulously researched and very accessible history of the British in Malaya. It was such an enjoyable read, very fair, well-rounded and packed with fascinating detail. Can't recommend it enough!
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Format: Paperback
This is a scholarly work but it should attract many general readers. The author writes about a country she knows: she was spent her childhood in Malaya where her father worked from 1926 to 1953. (She earlier published her account of her Malayan childhood under the title of "Missee".) She employs a limpid, easy style and relies a lot on the approach of "menu peuple": there are many private-life details to set off the historical account and the bibliography and notes show that a huge range of personal sources has been used. In addition, readers with experience of the country during the later colonial period are likely to have known some of the personalities mentioned, such as Jimmy Hislop (planter turned guerrilla commander) and the legendary joker "Puck" Puckridge. The Dorothy Nixon whom one knew as the endlessly helpful secretary of Kuala Lumpur Book Club must be she who is noted as having been interned by the Japanese in Singapore. There are many such leads but even a general reader will be interested in earlier "characters" such as Captain Tristram Speedy "who stood six feet five, sported Abyssinian garb, played the bagpipes, and brought his own sepoys from India to quell the riotous miners of Larut." Another person belonging to fable was Frenchman Leopold Chasseriau whose services, rather like those of James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak, were sought by local rulers to quell piracy.
There are a few errors, for example a photograph purporting to feature "the future Prime Minister of Malaya" seems, in fact, to show the first Agong (elected Paramount Ruler). An omission is perhaps the importance of oil palm planting during the latter part of the period.
Read more ›
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