Antoine-Louis-Henri Polier was a Swiss Protestant of French descent who served in the army of the British East India Company. The major part of his service was in northern India, beyond the area under formal British control.
History on this scale is a daunting task, not just for the breadth of scholarship it requires but also because it lays before the author the powerful temptations of platitude and over-generalization. Geoffrey Hosking, as he has amply shown elsewhere, is a historian who can draw a big picture without losing his curiosity, his feel for detail, or his capacity for concise but penetrating summary.
There are several novel things about this book that make it worth reading. The first one relates to the author. Unlike most other historians of Japan, who come from the areas of Japanese or East Asian studies, the author of this book arrives from an unexpected field. L. M.
In a memorandum for the Committee of Imperial Defence dated 10 July 1920 Harold Nicolson, whose family connection with these matters dated back to the time when his father Lord Carnock entered the Foreign Office, namely 1870, wrote:
In this innovative and interesting study, Antoinette Burton raises questions and extends the parameters of discussion in relation to a number of key issues that concern the relationship between women, the home and colonial modernity in twentieth century colonial India.
Some books enlighten and disappoint at the same time. This is how I felt having read Oleg Tarasov’s book. Originally Tarasov’s doktorskaia dissertatsiia (the second PhD), the book was first published in Russian and has now been painstakingly translated by Robin Milner-Gulland and lavishly published by Reaktion Books.
Barbara Ramusack bases her study of indirect rule under British imperialism mainly on research, including her own, which has been done since the 1960s. As she reiterates throughout the book, the topic of the ‘Native States’ is not one which has attracted widespread scholarly attention.
The historiography of disease and medicine in colonial India has tended to concentrate on epidemic diseases and particularly those that have produced the greatest political upheavals. On the assumption that epidemic crises expose latent social tensions, historians have tended to treat epidemics as ‘windows’ through which to observe broader social and political trends.
Few settings in China’s modern history have been explored in greater depth than Shanghai. Moreover, sexuality has been a 'sexy' topic in Chinese history for the better part of the past decade. And significantly, the French original was published hot on the heels of another major publication by Gail Hershatter (2) on exactly the same topic.
While reading Michael Fisher's new book, Counterflows to Colonialism: Indian Travellers and Settlers in Britain, 1600–1857, which details the diverse experiences of South Asians in Britain, I often found myself reminded of Tayeb Salih's 1969 novel Season of Migration to the North.(1) Th