2/26/14

Book Review: The Devil's Wind, The Bengal Army and The Indian Mutiny

The Devil's Wind: The Bengal Army and the Outbreak Of The Indian Mutiny [Kindle Edition]. 399 pgs. Bibliography. Chapter Notes. Endeavour Press Ltd. (December 23, 2013).


The Indian Mutiny of 1857-1858 is one of the central events and conflicts of Britain’s Imperial Age from c.1750-1899. In the Devil’s Wind, author Saul David’s immense scholarly and detailed examination of the reasons behind the Mutiny delves into the composition and formation of the Indian Army before and after the conflict, addressing all of the major factors, socioeconomic, religious, and military, which led to the large scale Sepoy insurrection against British rule beginning in May of 1857.

Rich with detail and well researched information regarding the recruitment of each major regiment of the Bengal Army during the Mutiny, the reader is engaged throughout the Devil’s Wind in arguably one of the most deeply researched, well written, balanced, and comprehensive English language books on the topic of the Indian Mutiny since 1947. David poses the fundamental question in this study of the Sepoy Rebellion early on, asking the reader-“Yet certain unresolved questions remain: were the prime motives for mutiny really the preservation of caste and religion, or were grievances particular to the Bengal Army more to blame? Did the sepoys act of their own volition, or was there an element of manipulation both from within and from without the military?

This book is most certainly for the well-read scholar of the Indian Mutiny who may be looking for current interpretation of the Indian Army but is also recommended to undergraduates who may be looking for a more modern interpretation of the events of the mutiny and its affect on the structure of the post-Mutiny Indian (Bengal) Army. This book may be helpful because it details the many regiments of the oft written about but little explained Bengal Army, noting additionally whether or not each regiment mutined during the rebellion against their European (British) officers. A very deep bibliography and lengthy chapter notes add to this already plentiful offering featuring nine chapters plus an introduction and conclusion. Two preview chapter's of the author's other work, Mutiny at Salerno, are included as well.

The Devil’s Wind is a history of the Indian Army and the Bengal Army c.1834-1858 rather than a military history of the Indian Mutiny itself. Published by Endeavour Press. Available for purchase at Amazon and Amazon UK.

Rebellion of the Bengal Army, 1857


Suggested Further Reading
Wars of Empires By Douglas Porch (Endeavour Press Ltd.)

By: Richard Foreman (Endeavour Press Ltd.; 1 edition)

Mutiny at Salerno, 1943: An Injustice Exposed By: Saul David (2005)

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