The following is my review which appears in the June 2011 edition of the Journal of the Orders Medals Research Society:
A Dangerous Game – British Colonial Warfare on the Indian Sub-Continent 1854-1895892 by Brian Parritt & Joachim Waibel, 2010, Loose Page Publishing, limited edition of 50 hard back sets of four volumes, 741 pages, profusely illustrated, with contemporary woodcut prints from The London Illustrated News and maps. E-book version US$49.95, available from http://www.loosepage.com (click on "E-Books") or email email@example.com .
Those of you who are familiar with Brian Parritt’s excellent book Red with Two Blue Stripes – Part 1 of the India General Service Medal 1854 -1895, originally published in 1979, will be aware of his extensive research and attention to detail. This new collaboration builds on this, providing a wealth of insight into the 55 campaigns and actions that resulted in the 23 different clasps awarded. It also reminds us that none of these took place within the boundaries of India as we know them today, and that they involved operations in areas of extreme hardship.
Each of the four volumes is extremely well researched, taking the reader back in time to explore the circumstances that led to the numerous punitive expeditions, together with the composition of the forces involved. They include good detailed accounts of many of the actions and units involved for each clasp awarded. Volume 4 also contains an Appendix with 35 photographs of Indian troops, mainly in review or marching order.
Whilst the authors do not claim to list all the participants who earned the medal, they have strived to highlight those men who distinguished themselves, or who were otherwise noteworthy in some way. They provide biographical details for many of the officers profiled in the text for particular clasp actions, together with the names of many of the officers qualifying for individual clasps. They list the numbers of clasps awarded for each of the regiments and other units deployed, including the Royal Navy, Indian Marine and Bengal Marine ships involved in the 1852-53 Pegu campaign.
It has clearly taken many years to produce this extensive and serious work, and the authors are to be congratulated on providing a well-balanced account. Present and future students of British colonial warfare will all find this four-volume set of immense value.
There is a typographical error in the title of the hard back edition, as the India General Service Medal 1854-1895 was awarded for actions up to and including 1895, and not just to 1892. Likewise, you may spot the occasional typographical error including Calvary instead of Cavalry in the titles of various photographs in Volume 4. Given the dedication of both the authors, these are very minor errors compared to the wealth of detail provided, and they are to be congratulated
The cost of the hard copy edition of the four volumes is US$198.99 plus postage. An email to the publishers will reveal if any of the Limited Edition sets are still available. The publishers have generously made the first 50 pages of Volume 1 available on-line as a free sample.
Clearly those interested in British Colonial Warfare in India will find these four volumes of immense interest.