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He has vividly described the street life of the Mughal capital in the days before the catastrophe happened, he has put his finger deftly on every crucial point in the story, which earlier historians have sometimes missed, and he has supplied some of the most informative footnotes I have ever read.

William Dalrymple, Vidya Shah and the Last Mughal

On top of that, he has splendidly conveyed the sheer joy of researching a piece of history, something every true historian knows, telling of his elation at discovering in Burma's national archives all Zafar's prison records, stored in Acrobat PDF files - "something the British Library has so far failed to achieve". Aamer Hussein of The Independent noted "Dalrymple's recreation of the city of Delhi under siege forms the monumental backdrop to the tragic figure of the eponymous monarch, the "last Mughal".

Aged 82 and abidingly fond of the arts of peace, Bahadur Shah Zafar was chosen as a mascot by an army seen as rebels and mutineers by the British, and as freedom fighters by some nationalist historians. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

by William Dalrymple (Knopf; $30)

The New York Times. Retrieved 22 May The Guardian.

'Last Mughal' author discusses Great Mutiny's toll

The Independent. Then, in , Zafar's flourishing capital became the centre of an uprising that reduced his beloved Delhi to a battered, empty ruin.


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When Zafar gave his blessing to a rebellion among the Company's own Indian troops, it transformed an army mutiny into the largest uprising the British Empire ever had to face. The Siege of Delhi was the Raj's Stalingrad: a fight to the death between two powers, neither of whom could retreat. The Last Mughal is a portrait of the dazzling Delhi Zafar personified, the story of the last days of the great Mughal capital and its final destruction in the catastrophe of William Dalrymple's powerful retelling of this fateful course of events is shaped from groundbreaking material: previously untranslated Urdu and Persian manuscripts that include Indian eyewitness accounts, and the records of the Delhi courts, police, and administration during the siege.


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