Saturday, July 16, 2011

A great book - but with a Caveat!!

Sometimes a book comes along that has great information in it - and this is one of them!

This is a reprint of an original publication in 1817 by an officer of the East India Company. There is lots of good information regarding the original organisation of the Bengal Native Infantry, the campaigns in which they fought, reorganisation over time etc. The author does state that he wrote most without the benefit of documentation and mostly from personal experience/ recollection. Where he cannot remember something he says so.

There are two grey scale pictures of sepoys c.1817. Those are the only illustrations.

Now the caveat - as noted on the inside of the cover and not noted on the online vendor's site:

The disclaimer

pages 186, 187 and some others...
Not only are there blank pages but there are several  pages missing - 88, 123 & 124 at least. Some of this makes no difference to the text, some of it does... One can only wonder what is missing!

This certainly isn't as bad as those Optical Character Recognition ("ocr") books that I have complained about before. Some of those are just unreadable rubbish. However, there is certainly valuable information missing from this book.

There is great information in this book, such as listing the names of the 60 European officers in the Bengal army in 1760, noting which were at Plassey. Circa 1796 the European officers corp had expanded to more than 1600!

Overall, I am very happy with what is in this book. Lots of info you just can't find elsewhere.



  1. I've had a couple of those print on demand things myself- same problems pages missing in 1 case upside down printing and also a couple of pages where the print is HUGE so oly a quarter of the page is there- a pain in the bum!

  2. There was a facsimilie edition of the origonsal - published in 1970 by Frederick Muller Ltd- a limited ed of 550 copies. The plates are rendered in colour. Can't recall where I got my copy but I've had it around 20 years.