The Black Hole of Calcutta – Noel Barber (1989)

S$52.00

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The Black Hole of Calcutta – Noel Barber (1989)

S$52.00

Title: The Black Hole of Calcutta: A Reconstruction

Author: Noel Barber

Publisher: Dorset Press, 1989.

Condition: Hardcover, with dust jacket wrapped in plastic. Fair. Book in excellent condition except for some staining to fore-edge (see photos) and slight foxing to top and bottom edges and prelims. 254pp., app 8.5″x5.5″.

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SKU: barber-calcutta Categories: , ,

About the book (from dust jacket):

Everyone has heard of the Black Hole of Calcutta, but Noel Barber brings the story to life as it has not been presented for a century. In 1756 came a siege by 50,000 Indians of Fort William, the British East Indian Company’s stronghold. The ensuing events constitute one of the most dramatic episodes of British imperial history, as this graphic and exciting reconstruction shows. Like so much else in history, this was a tragedy of errors in which stupidity, treachery, and fear all played their parts, side by side with the most glowing courage.

The book begins with a description of Calcutta, of the officers of Fort William, and of the suspicion and hatred of the Moslems of Bengal toward the Hindus and British, which led to their attack on the city. The first attack was repulsed, but the British forces were badly led and ill prepared, and constantly underestimated the enemy. Soon Calcutta was burned and plundered. Some two thousand Hindus who had not earlier escaped to the countryside rushed to Fort William for protection. Mr. Barber tells the story of the siege that followed in swift detail: the confusion of the battle, the stifling heat before the monsoon, the sickness and stench of the crowded fort. There was powder, but most of it was damp; plenty of wheat and rice, but no cooking utensils; and finally, treachery and desertion on the part of the British leader. One Moslem guard was killed by a drunk, and the soldiers were order into the Black Hole, a military prison built to accommodate three or four men overnight. Of the 146 prisoners who wet in the morning of June 20, 1756, 23 came out alive the next day.