Reveal: My Book About the Maratha War.

One of the reasons Historyland has had much less article content and has fallen dramatically back onto book reviews is because I’ve had no time to research or write blog content.

For the last year I’ve been occupied in a the completion of fond and long held dream; writing my own book. Last week I finally revealed the proposed cover art. There is still work to be done to get it ready for you but I’m very pleased with it.

‘Bullocks, Grain and Good Madeira,’ will be published by Helion and Co during the second half of 2020 , at the moment it is tentatively slated for November.

In the early part of the 19th century British Army’s in India operated on three main resources, Bullocks, Grain and large quantities of alcohol, often Madeira for Staff. The book tells the story of the 2nd Maratha War and the campaign against the Jat kingdom of Bharatpur.

Driven by first hand accounts, the book will present the Maratha army as it was, not a walkover but a formidably organised and equipped foe, equal but no longer as effective to the Native infantry of the East India Company.

A great motive for starting was the common perception that the armies opposing the EIC were poor things in comparison to European armies. In writing the book, I discovered great swathes of information, regarding the war in it’s entirety and it’s aftermath, that have not been made widely available.

A host of personal stories came to light as well, some familiar and others less so, but all offering the opportunity to see this conflict as an example of Indian warfare at it’s toughest.

As it stands of this moment, BGGM (AKA Project Begum as I codename it) will be available by the end of 2020. It will be illustrated by the wonderful brush of Christa Hook, an artist whose work I have loved since I first saw it in the Osprey Campaign book about Corunna.

I hope you like the cover, and I hope you’ll buy the book when it comes out. There will be more on this in the future, plus perhaps some content on how I went about writing it.

See you soon for another Adventure in Historyland, Josh.

Farewell to the Generals and Princes and Peshwas and Rajahs.

(Or an ode to imposter syndrome)
Image taken from page 53 of ‘Every-day Characters … Illustrated by C. Aldin. British Library Flickr.

For clarity, the title of this blog refers to a book I have ‘written.’ I qualify this word ‘written’ because it isn’t the same as finishing a book. The details of which will be revealed closer to it’s actual completion. Today is a marker, which is more to commemorate and in a way exorcise the organisation of this book, and especially the imposter syndrome that goes along with it from my system.

In that spirit ladies and gentlemen :

To the Generals and Princes and Peshwas and Rajahs. To the Begums and Subedars, privates, sepoys, merchants and all those suffering bullocks. Even to the feared pindarries, and to the sowars, dragoons and horses. To lascars and gunners, to the cannons the fortresses. To the muddy rivers, green gats, and shimmering cities of legend and fable.

To the multitudes of camp followers, the hirracahs and their camels, to tumbrels and the limbers of the flying artillery. To Hindustan, to the Doab, to Malwa and even to the famine haunted plains of the Deccan. To the Afghan, Rohilla, Sikh, Jat, Rajput and Maratha, to the Ducks, Mulls and Quai Hais and Redcoats; yes to the Nabobs and Governors General as well, so too I address, John Company and the MP’s and mandarins in Whitehall but to India most of all. 

To these with whom I have kept solitary company for the better part of a year, unbidden, who have talked to me but never listened, and imparted their secrets to my dull ear. To them all I offer my thanks and bid them farewell, and hope they would look with remembrance on their story which I tell. I’m sorry beyond words that you got stuck with me as your latest storyteller. It was your bad luck, for there are many better.