Shameful Flight The Last Years of the British Empire in India

ISBN-10: 0195393945
ISBN-13: 9780195393941
Edition: 2009
Authors: Stanley Wolpert
List price: $17.95 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: Britain's precipitous and ill-planned disengagement from India in 1947--condemned as a "shameful flight" by Winston Churchill--had a truly catastrophic effect on South Asia, leaving hundreds of thousands of people dead in its wake and creating a  More...

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Book details

List price: $17.95
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 9/17/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.10" wide x 9.10" long x 0.60" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

Britain's precipitous and ill-planned disengagement from India in 1947--condemned as a "shameful flight" by Winston Churchill--had a truly catastrophic effect on South Asia, leaving hundreds of thousands of people dead in its wake and creating a legacy of chaos, hatred, and war that has lastedover half a century. Ranging from the fall of Singapore in 1942 to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, Shameful Flight provides a vivid behind-the-scenes look at Britain's decision to divest itself from the crown jewel of its empire. Stanley Wolpert, a leading authority on Indian history, paintsmemorable portraits of all the key participants, including Gandhi, Churchill, Attlee, Nehru, and Jinnah, with special focus on British viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Wolpert places the blame for the catastrophe largely on Mountbatten, the flamboyant cousin of the king, who rushed the process ofnationhood along at an absurd pace. The viceroy's worst blunder was the impetuous drawing of new border lines through the middle of Punjab and Bengal. Virtually everyone involved advised Mountbatten that to partition those provinces was a calamitous mistake that would unleash uncontrollableviolence. As Wolpert shows, civil unrest among Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs escalated as Independence Day approached, and when the new boundary lines were announced, arson, murder, and mayhem erupted. Partition uprooted over ten million people, 500,000 to a million of whom died in the ensuing inferno. Here then is the dramatic story of a truly pivotal moment in the history of India, Pakistan, and Britain, an event that ignited fires of continuing political unrest that still burn in South Asia.

Stanley Wolpertis the author of fourteen books, includingIndia,now in its fourth edition from UC Press,A New History of India,now in its eighth edition, andGandhi's Passion: The Life and Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi.He is Professor Emeritus in the History Department at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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