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The Sepoy Mutiny 1857: An Annotated Checklist of English Language Books

Author: Richard Sorsky
Publisher: Linden Publishing (May 2007)
ISBN-10: 1933502010

In the acknowledgements section the compiler admits to having taken some 40 years to complete the work so it might be expected that it would be a highly detailed and comprehensive compilation. The compiler also stresses that that it is not a bibliography and that there never has been a bibliography of the Mutiny. My dictionary defines a bibliography as ‘a list of books or other material on a subject' and on this basis this work would seem to qualify. In addition the compiler, rather meanly, makes no mention in his acknowledgement or introduction to Janice Ladendorf but merely includes her as an entry [No.619] referring to it as the first annotated bibliography of the Mutiny, which indeed it was, thus contradicting his earlier statement that no such thing exists. Vipin Jain's bibliography of 1993 is also listed [No.569].

I mention this as it gives the impression of a degree of inconsistency which might affect the main content though I have not had the time to give it the detailed inspection needed to prove this.

The Introduction gives a basic background to the Mutiny followed by a useful and interesting resume of books on the subject published from 1957 up to Saul David's work in 2002. This is followed by 1,611 entries in alphabetical order by author/editor with details of publisher, date of publication, pages, and in most cases a short resume.

Some errors have been noted, such as entries 492/3 which refer to H.E. Harrington V.C., when the name is Harington; also entry 693 Mackenzie A.R.D. who was in the 3rd Regular Light Cavalry which mutinied at Meerut on 10 May. He was not commandant of the 8th Irregular Cavalry, which did not mutiny on 31 May. There is very little consideration of regimental history, Indian or British, and I have only noted 53rd Shropshire Regiment, Royal & Indian Artillery, 7th Rajputs, Neil's Blue Caps, Hodson's Horse, 34th Poona Horse and the Meerut Volunteer Horse. Consistency should merit many more, such as the Corps of Guides.

I sent a email to the publisher to see if there was a UK outlet and a sterling price but no reply has been received so it must be presumed that it is only available from the United States.

In summary this is a reasonable listing which goes some way towards updating Ladendorf but for 40 years' work is somewhat light on content and entry information and at $49.95 plus mailing might only appeal to the very serious student of the Mutiny.

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