Amritsar 1919 An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre Kim Wagner

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
12 Feb 2019
ISBN:
9780300200355
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
360 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
26 b-w illus. & 4 maps

A powerful reassessment of a seminal moment in the history of India and the British Empire—the Amritsar Massacre—to mark its 100th anniversary

The Amritsar Massacre of 1919 was a seminal moment in the history of the British Empire, yet it remains poorly understood. In this dramatic account, Kim A. Wagner details the perspectives of ordinary people and argues that General Dyer’s order to open fire at Jallianwalla Bagh was an act of fear. Situating the massacre within the "deep" context of British colonial mentality and the local dynamics of Indian nationalism, Wagner provides a genuinely nuanced approach to the bloody history of the British Empire.

Kim A. Wagner teaches global and British imperial history at Queen Mary, University of London. His books include The Skull of Alum Bheg, The Great Fear of 1857, and Thuggee.

“-”
"A vivid, finely researched account of the Amritsar massacre which will be of great interest to both specialist and general readers alike. It is also an important book for our postcolonial world more generally."—Yasmin Khan, author of The Great Partition

 

“The fullest, and by far the most authoritative, account of the causes and course of the Jallianwala massacre in any language. Wagner’s exposition of the way fear caused an event that started the unravelling of the Raj will take its place as the definitive version of a story hitherto capable of controversy, but now finally exposed in its full, undeniable horror.  This is now the standard work.”—Nigel Collett, author of The Butcher of Amritsar

 

"In the cautionary tale provided in Amritsar 1919, it is enduring racist fear that lies at the heart of precipitate violence. Analytically sharp but gripping to read, the book is a page-turner"—Barbara D. Metcalf, co-author of A Concise History of India

 

"In this compelling yet exacting study, Kim Wagner combines the intimacy of the storyteller and the distance of the historian to evoke the ‘microhistory’ of the massacre while understanding it as the ‘final stage of a much longer process’, stretching back to the Sepoy Uprising. Mining a variety of sources – diaries, memoirs and court testimonies - he uncovers fresh perspectives and examines the relation between colonial panic and state brutality with sophistication, sincerity and style rare in published accounts of this much-trodden ground."—Santanu Das, author of India, Empire, and First World War Culture