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Imprint

  • Abacus
  • Little, Brown
  • Little, Brown
  • Little, Brown

The Indian Empire At War: From Jihad to Victory, The Untold Story of the Indian Army in the First World War

George Morton-Jack

4 Reviews

Rated 0

True war & combat stories

A brilliantly original take on the First World War, tracing the Indian army's journey from a small professional service to a crucial part of the conflict and throwing new light on the development of Islamic Jihad and the story of Indian Independence.

Almost two million volunteers served the Indian army in the Great War, always under British regimental officers, high commanders and staff. 150,000 of them were long-serving pre-war professional soldiers; most of the remainder were wartime recruits, drawn from across South Asia. Half of the Indian soldiers were sent overseas, and those who returned did so with a very different outlook on life - for some it lit the spark for Jihad and for even more it led to a desire for Independence.

In most histories of the war, the Tommies, pals and poets have dominated the tales - but what of the war as experienced by their Indian counterparts? George Morton-Jack's remarkable, fresh take on the First World War sets this right, telling the Indian army's story of 1914-18 through the voices of the service's officers and ranks, and of the princes, priests, prostitutes and others who encountered them across the continents. It reveals their journeys to the greatest battlefields mankind had ever seen, their experiences as prisoners of war in Germany, Romania and elsewhere, and their missions as secret agents that took them down rivers, across deserts and through mountain ranges from Transylvania to Afghanistan and beyond.

The Indian Army at War is a fascinating, necessary book that illuminates a central part of the Great War that has too often been overlooked.

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Praise for The Indian Empire At War: From Jihad to Victory, The Untold Story of the Indian Army in the First World War

  • Beautifully written . . . essential to a proper understanding of the war and of our world of today. A much needed book - Michael Morpurgo

  • Absorbing and welcome . . . explores a remarkably diverse fighting force of 1.5 million men of all castes and creeds . . . This book is a fitting testament to the sacrifices they made - Observer

  • Revelatory . . . fluent and colourful . . . This book describes the war as a worldwide conflict involving a million Indian soldiers [and] shows how crucial they were to Allied success - Telegraph

  • An outstanding book that brings to life the experiences of Indian soldiers in all of the theatres of WWI, from German colonies in China and Africa to the Middle East and the Western Front. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, George Morton-Jack restores the Indian Army to its rightful place in the history of the Great War

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