In the mid-19th century India was the "jewel in the crown" of the British Empire and was protected by the largely native armies of the East India Company. In 1857 discontent exploded into open rebellion, obliging Britain to field its largest army since the Napoleonic Wars, forty years before.
Gregory Fremont Barnes examines the origins of British rule in India, the causes of the conflict, the rival forces and fighting itself, including the massacre of Cawnpore and the epic sieges of Delhi and Lucknow. He also reveals the intriguing truth behind the 'greased cartridge' controversy - the allegation that the introduction of gun cartridges covered in pig fat, an insult to both Hindu and Muslim religious sensibilities, was the catalyst for the conflict. However, once hostilities began the mutineers had no qualms about using the cartridges, thus throwing into question the long-held belief that the mutiny hinged principally on this issue. The discussion of the importance and enduring legacy of the Indian Mutiny makes this essential reading for anyone wanting to learn more about the power of empire.