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The Raj, outwardly so monolithic and magnificent, was always precarious. Its masters knew that I rested ultimately on the goodwill of Indians, which was why pressure for self-government was met with a mixture of compromise and sternness. The twists and turns of the struggle for independence are told with a wealth of fresh material. The author galvanises a subject already rich in incident and character: the India of the Raj was that of Clive the Marquess Wellesley, Havelock, Kipling, Curzon and Gandhi and a host of lesser-known but vivid men and women. Raj probes their world and how they reacted to it. It will also provoke debate, using recently released official and private papers – to shed new light, flattering and unflattering, on Mountbatten and the other central and tragic events of 1946-47 that ended what had been simultaneously an exercise in benign autocracy and an experiment in altruism.

Lawrence James author, The Softback Preview publisher 1998, 722pp, soft cover, b/w photos. Minor edge wear, small tear to rear cover edge, pencil pricing to ffep, light toning to text block & prelims. A reasonably tidy copy.

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L90
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