The Peninsular War and the Napoleonic Wars across Europe are subjects of such enduring interest that they have prompted extensive research and writing. Yet other campaigns, in what was a global war, have been largely ignored. Such is the case for the war in India which persisted for much of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods and peaked in the years 1798-1805 with the campaigns of Arthur Wellesley – later the Duke of Wellington – and General Lake in the Deccan and Hindustan. That is why this new study by Martin Howard is so timely and important.
While it fully acknowledges Wellington’s vital role, it also addresses the nature of the warring armies, the significance of the campaigns of Lake in North India, and leaves the reader with an understanding of the human experience of war in the region. For this was a brutal conflict in which British armies clashed with the formidable forces of the Sultan of Mysore and the Maratha princes. There were dramatic pitched battles at Assaye, Argaum, Delhi and Laswari, and epic sieges at Seringapatam, Gawilghur and Bhurtpore. The British success was not universal.