The Ruling Caste: Imperial Lives in the Victorian Raj

The Ruling Caste: Imperial Lives in the Victorian Raj

by David Gilmour (Author)

Synopsis

For nearly 200 years a small group of British officials administered vast areas of south Asia. In 1900 just over a thousand civil servants ruled a population of nearly 300 million people spread over a territory now covered by India, Pakistan, Burma and Bangladesh. This absorbing book traces their lives from recruitment to retirement, from a jungle to Government House, from a bungalow in Burma to a Residency in Rajputana. It describes their work and their leisure, their intellectual and their private lives, explaining their reasons for going to India and what they did when they got there. The result is a portrait more varied and complicated than that painted by their old admirers, and yet fairer and subtler than those routinely produced by postcolonial detractors.

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More Information

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 416
Publisher: John Murray Publishers Ltd
Published: 12 Sep 2005

ISBN 10: 0719555345
ISBN 13: 9780719555343

Media Reviews
'An impeccably researched and written biography' -- Sunday Telegraph on CURZON 'One of the best biographies of our time ! a book of outstanding excellence' -- New Statesman on CURZON 'A biography as definitive as such a work can ever be ! a splendid book' -- Evening Standard on CURZON 'A magnificent work ! entirely convincing in its evocation of Curzon's extraordinary character. It is, in short, the definitive life' -- Observer on CURZON 'An absorbing, witty and intelligent biography ! David Gilmour's mix of erudition, hard analysis and quizzical amusement will give this volume a unique place on the ever more crowded shelves of political biography' -- Independent on Sunday on CURZON 'A superb short biography ! a beautifully written, touching and occasionally very funny book' -- Daily Mail on KIPLING 'A fine, fair and generous work ! Gilmour's celebrated life of Curzon demonstrated his mastery of imperial nuance and esoteric character, and he brings to this book just the right combination of empathy, distaste and fastidious detachment' -- New Statesman on KIPLING 'The best Kipling biography yet written ! Gilmour's account of this driven man shines with intelligence' -- Scotsman on KIPLING 'A vivid insight into sometimes frustrating lives in an unkind climate.' -- Sunday Herald 20051023 'The Ruling Caste is elegantly written, with the tender touch of a man who cares about his subject ! a balanced overall account of the era.' -- Traveller 20051106 'Absorbing...rich in detail and also revisionist in its undertones' -- Financial Times, Edward Luce 20051203 'Outstanding' -- Sunday Telegraph/Seven, Anne Chisholm 20051204 'Beuatifully written and endlessly diverting' -- TLS, Roy Foster 20051202 'Extensively researched and eminently readable' -- The Tablet, David Goodall 20051119 'Engaging...brings to life civilians of every stripe' -- The Economist 20051112 'Masterly and fascinating ! Gilmour has the happy knack of being able to combine the precision of an academic ! with the narrative historian's eye for human anecdote' -- The Sunday Times 20050911 'Quite exceptional ! a joy to read ! an enthralling and exhaustively researched survey' -- Literary Review 20050901 'Full and satisfying ... everything is here, in what will replace Philip Mason's The Men Who Ruled India as the definitive book' -- New Statesman 20050919 'An excellent book ! authoritative and scholarly ! yet overflowing with excellent jokes and vignettes of eccentricity'-- Max Hastings -- Sunday Telegraph 20050925 'A detailed and balanced account, in which scholarship and good sense provide a counterbalance to transatlantic posturing ! lucid, witty and extremely well-written' -- Daily Telegraph 20050924 'Gilmour is the perfect companion to Victorian India -- shrewd, funny, always a joy to read. He writes lean, elegant prose and wears his learning lightly -- the book entertains as much as it instructs ... In David Gilmour, the British in India have at last found the historian they deserve. This is a marvellous book' -- The Spectator 20050924 'Based on stunningly exhaustive research ... and written with tremendous wit, style and sense of place, Gilmour's book is a masterful account of British life in India' -- Evening Standard 20050919 'Compelling, well researched, convincingly presented' -- Herald 20051124 'Written with tremendous wit, style and sense of place, Gilmour's book is a masterful account of life in India ! popular history at its best' -- Dominic Sandbrook, The Scotsman 20051001 'Even-handed, carefully researched and elegantly written' -- TLS, Peter Parker 20051202 'Elegant and thorough examination of British imperialists in India' -- Daily Telegraph, Dominic Sandbrook 20051203 'His approach...raises him above the neo-imperialist/ anti-imperialist fray; he is as conscientious and impartial about the people he describes as the best civilians aspired to be' -- Daily Mail, Lucy Moore 20051209
Author Bio
David Gilmour has written highly acclaimed works of contemporary history on Spain and the Middle East and, more recently award-winning biographies of Guiseppe Di Lampedusa and Lord Curzon.