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Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling 1865-1900

Charles Allen

8 Reviews

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

A long overdue reassessment of Kipling in India by a leading historian of the subcontinent, author of PLAIN TALES FROM THE RAJ and SOLDIER SAHIBS.

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865 and spent his early years there, before being sent, aged six, to England, a desperately unhappy experience. Charles Allen's great-grandfather brought the sixteen-year-old Kipling out to Lahore to work on The Civil and Military Gazette with the words 'Kipling will do', and thus set young Rudyard on his literary course. And so it was that at the start of the cold weather of 1882 he stepped ashore at Bombay on 18 October 1882 - 'a prince entering his kingdom'. He stayed for seven years during which he wrote the work that established him as a popular and critical, sometimes controversial, success.
Charles Allen has written a brilliant account of those years - of an Indian childhood and coming of age, of abandonment in England, of family and Empire. He traces the Indian experiences of Kipling's parents, Lockwood and Alice and reveals what kind of culture the young writer was born into and then returned to when still a teenager. It is a work of fantastic sympathy for a man - though not blind to Kipling s failings - and the country he loved.

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Praise for Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling 1865-1900

  • Those who relish Allen s India books will not be disappointed . . . Rich in instruction for the current administration in, say, Basra - and better still, it s vintage Charles Allen - John Keay, LITERARY REVIEW

  • No biographer has done him better justice - Clarence Valley Examiner

  • The strength of Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling comes from Charles Allen's deep knowledge of British Indian society, which he demonstrated in his previous book, Plain Tales from the Raj, and his ability to describe Kipling's place in it. - The Age

  • Kipling Sahib is a revealing study of a much maligned and fascinating man who was much more than a mere propagandist for the Empire. - Sydney Morning Herald

  • 'Allen tells his complex story with concision, insight and wide-ranging vision' - SUNDAY TIMES

  • Compelling - TIMES

  • A fascinating new book' - SPECTATOR

  • 'Allen marshals his formidable knowledge of British India to considerable effect . . . A valuable guide - SCOTSMAN

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Charles Allen

Charles Allen is the author of a number of bestselling books about Indian and the colonial experience elsewhere. A traveller, historian and master storyteller he is one of the great chroniclers of India.

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