Soldier Sahibs by Charles Allen
The Daring Adventurers Who Tamed India's Northwest Frontier

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Drawing extensively upon diaries, letters, and family mementos as well as his own frequent travels in the northwest region of India, author Charles Allen here recounts a lively chapter out of British colonial history that prominently featured his ancestor Brigadier General John Nicholson. In 1840, six ambitious young officers, inflamed with patriotism and religious evangelism, set out under Nicholson's leadership to secure the Northwest Frontier for the Raj. Dominated by the strategic Khyber Pass and prone to invasion by Russia and warring tribes from what are today Pakistan and Afghanistan, this region represented British India at its most vulnerable. Its hostile mountain landscape and extreme climate also made it virtually impossible to survey, navigate, supply, or defend. Yet Nicholson and his intrepid band of adventurers combined their martial talents with the courageous instincts of explorers and athletic skills of mountaineers to accomplish the impossible. Allen's exciting narrative sets the scene for "The Great Game," when Europe's imperial powers squared off for control of all of Central Asia.

About Charles Allen

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Published September 1, 2000 by Diane Pub Co. 368 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Allen attributes these young men’s willingness to fight and die on the distant frontiers of empire to patriotism and religious fervor (“We have to make a leap of imagination from our own faithless age,” he sniffs, “back to an era when the promise of the Heavenly Kingdom for those who had fought t...

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Publishers Weekly

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The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 almost destroyed the tenuous British hold on India, as native soldiers rose up against European civilians and soldiers, but the Northwest remained loyal and helped in no small way to contain the rebellion, though the book ends with the death of Nicholson during the captur...

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India Today

The very first line of Soldier Sahibs sums up Nicholson's role in how India was won for the British: "The book concerns itself chiefly with events in north-west India between July, 1839, when 17-year-old John Nicholson landed at Calcutta as a cadet in the East India Company's Bengal Native Infant...

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