BOOKS


 

Albert

MADRID The History is now available from I.B Taurus.

At the heart of the Castilian plateau, far from the coastal towns and ports of Spain, sits the great city of Madrid. Perched some 2,200 feet above the distant sea, it is at once the loftiest and also the most enigmatic of Europe’s capitals: hard to decipher for the Spanish and for foreigners alike. Its intense character and the abrupt manner and hectic lifestyle of the Madrileños can make even other Spaniards feel exhausted. Yet, Madrid has a rich historical and cultural life which attracts almost 8 million visitors per year, drawn to its beautiful palaces and churches, the magnificent collections of the Prado and everywhere the echoes of a faded empire. Despite its ancient origins, Madrid feels like a modern, youthful city. But the legacy of Madrid’s ‘golden age’ – the Spanish colonies from the Andes to the Philippines from which the city derived such wealth – remains evident in the extravagant Baroque facades of the old city. Jules Stewart here provides an insider’s account of Madrid and unveils the history and culture of one of Europe’s most fascinating, but least-understood cities.


Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd
Hardback ISBN: 9781780762814
Publication Date: 30 Oct 2012
Number of Pages: 288
Height: 216 Width: 135

 


 


Albert

Albert is now available from I.B Taurus.

Albert: Prince Consort to Queen Victoria, social and cultural visionary in his own right, was born in the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld but defined the culture and direction of 19th century Britain - a superpower at the zenith of its influence - more than any other British royal or politician. Although he pleaded with his wife that no monument to his memory should be left (a plea that was to go unheeded by his grieving widow) the role he played in shaping Victorian culture stands today as indisputable proof of the enduring legacy of a man who spent just two decades of his short life in England. Though overshadowed in history by his adoring wife, and at times even mocked by her subjects, it was arguably Albert that gave form and substance to the Victorian Age. From the outset, he strove to win 'the respect, theAlbert love and the confidence of the Queen and of the nation', pursuing an extraordinary social and cultural crusade that has become his greatest legacy.

From the Great Exhibition and the construction of many of London's great museums to his social campaigns against slavery and the Corn Laws, Albert's achievements were truly remarkable - in fact, very few have made such a permanent mark on British society. This is the life story of Albert of Saxe-Coburg: Prince Consort and beloved husband of Queen Victoria - and one of the most influential figures of modern Europe.


Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd
Hardback ISBN: 9781780762814
Publication Date: 30 Oct 2012
Number of Pages: 304
Height: 216 Width: 135

 



The Khyber Rifles

The Khyber Rifles: from the British Raj to Al Qaeda was acclaimed as ‘excellent, well-paced and at times dashing history’ by the Literary Review. Still recruited from the Pathan tribes that live in the no-man’s land between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Khyber Rifles continue to stand guard over this area, one of the world’s most volatile borders. The book tells the story of Colonel Sir Robert Warburton, the man who raised the Khyber Rifles in 1878, and describes the tribal militia in action under the British Raj and today. For more than a century, these gallant poachers-turned-gamekeepers fought for the British against their own kith and kin, but to date nothing had been written about their key role in Britain’s struggle to dominate the North-West Frontier.

In 1947, Pakistan gained its independence and the Khyber Rifles took on new duties, amongst them pursuing drug smugglers and terrorists. The native levy is now actively involved in the war against Al Qaeda and the heroin trade. Most recently they set up the first permanent military presence in the forbidden tribal territory of Tirah, to seal the border against Al Qaeda militants and eradicate the opium trade.


Published in hardback 2005, now available in paperback. Sutton Publishing, £8.99. pp. 267. ISBN 0 7509 3964 8

 


 

Spying for the RajSpying for the Raj: the Pundits and the Mapping of the Himalaya tells the story of the Indian Pundits who were sent by the Raj beyond the Himalaya to spy on Russian troop movements and to map uncharted territories. The book was described by explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes as ‘entertaining and authoritative’. From the early nineteenth century, Imperial Russian expansion threatened the increasing British dominion of India. In the 1860s, Captain Thomas Montgomerie hit on the idea of training local people from Indian border states as surveyors, and have them explore the region covertly.

Disguised as traders or Buddhist monks, the Pundits taught themselves to walk at an exact number of paces to the mile, whether uphill, downhill or on level ground. They were taught the use of the sextant and compass, to navigate by the stars and to calculate altitudes by observing the boiling point of water. These servants of the Raj, for personal prestige, the opportunity of employment or the sheer love of adventure, displayed an extraordinary dedication to their British employers. Despite their precautions and tricks, some of them were sent back, imprisoned or tortured. Even so, they managed to map the Himalaya, Tibet and surrounding areas with remarkable precision, thereby helping the British to gain a knowledge of territories beyond India's borders and protect their empire from the threat of invasion.

Sutton Publishing, 2006, £17.99, pp. 206, ISBN 0 7509 4200 2 Available online

 


 

The Savage BorderThe Savage Border is the first account in 40 years of the North-West Frontier, from the earliest days of Alexander the Great’s invasion to the creation of Pakistan. The book examines in depth the history and character of the Pathans who inhabit this forbidding tract of tribal territory. The Bookdealer praised The Savage Border as ‘Well argued, well researched and beautifully written.’

For centuries, Pakistan’s North-West Frontier has appeared to Western eyes as a lawless wilderness. For many it is a seductive land and has even been called ‘the last free place on Earth’. In recent years the region has captured public attention as the assumed hiding place of Osama bin Laden. Here, the world’s most wanted fugitives are believed to be sheltered by Pathan tribesmen, whose code of honour obliges them to protect anyone seeking refuge. Stewart, a specialist in North-West Frontier affairs, has travelled extensively in Pakistan. This book provides an in-depth, highly accessible account of life and conflict in the region, including first-hand accounts of soldiering on the North-West Frontier after the Second World War.

Sutton Publishing, 2007, £19.99. pp. 240, ISBN 978 0 7509 4452 6 Available online

 


 

The Crimson Snow

Crimson Snow is the story of the first British disaster in Afghanistan, the 1842 retreat from Kabul which saw an entire 16,000-strong army annihilated in one week. The book highlights many lessons for today, as endorsed by General Sir David Richards in his Foreword: ‘Entertaining, easy to read, yet accurate and authoritative, I wish this excellent book had been published before I deployed to Afghanistan in May 2006 to command NATO’s International Security and Assistance Force.’

It was the early 19th century and two great powers were vying for supremacy in Central Asia. Britain’s expansion in India had been watched with keen interest from Europe, while Russia continued to advance aggressively, bringing its armies to the northern and western frontiers of Afghanistan. On hearing news that the Persians, supported by Russian troops, had laid siege to the Afghan city of Herat, the British began to panic. Further alarmed by reports that a Russian Cossack officer was negotiating with the Afghan ruler Dost Mohammed, the Raj took the fateful decision to invade Afghanistan, the killing fields of would-be conquerors. The book offers a detailed and thrilling account of the Army of the Indus’s journey through the formidable passes of Afghanistan, a campaign launched on false evidence and against the advice of a successful military strategist, the Duke of Wellington.

The British returned to Afghanistan in 1878 and 1919, waging campaigns that yielded ambiguous political gains and always, in the end, with the Afghans obstinately claiming victory. In 2001 the British Army went back again, the politicians having failed to comprehend the lessons of history.

Sutton Publishing, 2008, Available online

 


 

The Savage BorderFrontier Fighters
On Active Service in Waziristan
The Memoirs of Major James Cumming

Edited by Jules Stewart

These are the fascinating memoirs of a British officer who fought the legendary Pathan tribesmen of the North-West Frontier, right up to the beginning of the Second World War.
He describes twenty years of desperate battles against this highly skilled and ruthless enemy. Pathan atrocities were commonplace and no prisoners were taken.
Cumming served in two Frontier units, the South Waziristan Scouts and the Corps of Guides. Waziristan, the home of the Wazirs and Mahsuds the most warlike of the Pathan tribes, is today a sanctuary for Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, and remains one of the most dangerous places on the planet.
Frontier Fighters describes the closing stages of Britain’s Imperial presence on the subcontinent. Yet as well as the pig sticking, polo and hunting, there was great excitement, danger and gallantry. Paradoxically, Cumming went on to command a Pathan regiment in North Africa in the Second World War.

Pen & Sword Military (30 May 2010), £19.99. pp. 208, ISBN 978-1848842410
Available online

 



Britain & the North West Frontier: Strategy, Tactics and Lessons

The tribal areas of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) The Crimson Snowfully deserve President Barack Obama’s description as “the most dangerous place in the world”. This remote and inhospitable region is only nominally under Pakistan's administration and its Pashtun tribesmen have a long history of opposing outside rule on their homeland. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have today become a haven for the most vicious and desperate elements of the Islamist insurgency. This includes Osama bin Laden, who is widely believed to be taking shelter in Waziristan under the protection of the Pashtun tribesmen, whose code of honour obliges them to protect anyone seeking refuge. This paper brings to light the experience of the British, who fought a desperate 100-year war to gain supremacy in the strategic tribal areas. Britain on the North-West Frontier: Strategy, Tactics and Lessons describes the Pashtun tribesmen and examines the military tactics used to deal with the insurgents, from “butcher and bolt” destruction of their villages to the later deployment of air power and even straightforward bribery, none of which were met with lasting success. In the end, the fatal flaw may well have been in treating this as a strictly military problem instead of an economic one. Pakistan, which is now engaged in a fierce battle to clean out the Islamist insurgents from Waziristan, may be forced to learn the same lesson.

The Jamestown Foundation




On Afghanistan's Plains: The Story of Britain's Afghan War

Britain's military involvement in Afghanistan is a contentious subject, yetOn Afghanistan's Plains it is often forgotten that the current conflict is in fact the fourth in a string of such wars dating back as far as the early nineteenth century. Aiming to protect the British territories in India from the expanding Russian empire, the British fought a series of conflicts on Afghan territory between 1838 and 1919. The Anglo-Afghan wars of the 19th and early 20th centuries were ill-conceived and led to some of the worst military disasters ever sustained by British forces in this part of the world, with poor strategy in the First Afghan War resulting in the annihilation of 16,000 soldiers and civilians in a single week. In his new book, Jules Stewart explores the potential danger of replaying Britain's military catastrophes and considers what can be learnt from revisiting the story of these earlier Afghan wars.

With a foreword by Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards.

Hardback, I.B. Tauris Ltd, available June 2011, 272 pp., £18.99 ISBN - 9781848857179

 

 

 

 

©Jules Stewart 2010