Friday, March 16, 2012

Arguing over Amritsar

London University's Institute of Historical Research, where I was until recently a seemingly perpetual student, runs the excellent Reviews in History resources on its website.

This provides an opportunity for longer discussions of new history books than can be included even in specialist academic journals and also for the book's author to respond to the review.

Normally it is fairly well mannered stuff with measured reviews being met with grateful thanks for constructive comments on the book in question. But just occasionally it is handbags at dawn, as in the case of Kim Wagner's review of Nick Lloyd's recent The Amritsar Massacre: The Untold Story of One Fateful Day and Dr Lloyd's response.
 I haven't read the book, but it's fair to say in general I have little sympathy with the new strain of 'British empire was a good thing and much misunderstood' historical writing, of which the book would appear to be an example. At any rate it seems rather odd that Lloyd should take Wagner to task for having 'absolutely nothing to say about the violence directed against the Indian people by the successor state since 1947' when he was reviewing a book about the 1919 Amritsar massacre carried out by representatives of the British Raj.

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