Homeschool History – Book Review: The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple

Book intro: A living history read which covers a major event in Indian history which is the 1857 sepoy mutiny /indian rebellion ,how it looked from Mughal Delhi and the fall of last Mugal Emperor Zafar in India.The book gives a good insight on what triggered this mutiny -which were communal-ism and social reforms.

Inside the book: It contains Paintings and photographs of the Emperor , British administrators and how old Delhi looked like.

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Author’s Style: The authors writing style is captivating with never a dull moment and brings each character alive. He doesn’t portray characters in extreme black or white.One of the few books that has me appreciating a good narration

What the book covers:

  • How 18th Century India Look Like.
  • The Lazy lifestyle of the Mughals to the more brisk lifestyle of the British.
  • How Mughal Delhi looked like during the siege.
  • The shameful way the Emperor was treated
  • An Interesting note – on how 4/5th’s of the British army was made up of Natives.
  • After 3 Anglo Sikh wars the British were helped by the Sikhs because the Sikhs didn’t want the Mughals to come to power.

Inspiring characters: John Lawrence- who saved Delhi from total annihilation, Zafar -for his moderation and tries to save his people from slaughter. Mirza mughal -for Administration.

This book does have a mild bias towards Zafar and tries to justify Zafar.Zafar as an emperor did fail to protect his people and saved only himself.1857 could have changed the tide for India but would have failed to create a country which was peaceful and respected.1947 was a good model for others to follow in gaining their freedom using non violence.