Objectivity seems to be difficult for historians writing about Britain’s long and complicated relationship with India, and this makes the even-handedness David Gilmour achieves in books such as The Ruling Caste both unusual and welcome. In his enlightening and wonderfully detailed new portrait of The British in India, he states that he is ‘not seeking to make judgments or to contribute to any debate about the virtues and failings of imperialism’, although a brief Envoi supplies some ‘concluding reflections’ on what he acknowledges is a controversial subject.
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