About the book (from dust jacket):
Administrator, humanitarian, pioneer orientalist and collector of animals and plants, Stamford Raffles was a great historical figure who has not yet had his full due. Maurice Collis relates his life in a much clearer way than has been done before. Time and perspective have increased his stature, till now he is seen as a key figure of his time, his achievement being integral with those of great protagonists – Pitt, Napoleon, Nelson and Wellington. What he did was to open a door for the West’s incursion into the Far East, which had hitherto been largely closed. He enabled England, empowered by Trafalgar and Waterloo, to move decisively eastwards via the city he founded, Singapore. Old Asia dissolved, modern Asia, indeed the world scene of today, grew out of what he did.
Well known for the clarity of his style, his light touch in narrative and the deft manner in which he selects the relevant and entertaining detail, Maurice Collis has never written a biography of more human interest. For besides being a major historical personage, Raffles was a man of heart, a most charming character. Lucky in that circumstances favoured him at first, and that he succeeded in the end, he was assailed through life by a multitude of misfortunes. These misadventures endear him to us.