Author(s): William Dalrymple
'By God Delhi is not a city now, it is a desert ... Sometimes I wonder if it was only in my dreams that there was once a city by this name in the dominions of India.'At 4pm on a dark, wet winter's evening in November 1862, a cheap plywood coffin was buried to the eerie sound of silence: no lamentations, no panegyrics, for as the British Commissioner in charge of the funeral insisted, 'No vesting will remain to distinguish where the last of the Great Moghuls rests.' The last of the Great Mughals was Bahadur Shah Zafar II: one of the most talented, tolerant and likeable of his remarkable dynasty, he found himself in the position of leader of a violent uprising he knew from the start would lead to irreparable carnage. Zafar's frantic efforts to unite his disparate and mutually suspicious forces proved tragically futile: the Siege of Delhi was the Raj's Stalingrad, and Mughal Delhi was left an empty ruin, haunted by battered remnants of a past that was being rapidly and brutally overwritten. The Last Mughal charts the desecration and demise of a man, his dynasty, his city and civilizations mercilessly ravished by fractured forces and vengeful British troops. William Dalrymple unearths groundbreaking new material to create the first English account of the life of the last Emperor, and the first narrative of the Mutiny to contain large quantities of material from the Indian perspective. The Last Mughal rapidly changes our understanding of a pivotal moment in Indian and Imperial history.
First published 2006.
William Dalrymple is an extremely high-profile, prize-winning, best-selling travel writer, historian, reviewer and journalist. White Mughals, was chosen by 'Richard and Judy', and sold almost 200,000 copies in paperback WINNER OF THE DUFF COOPER PRIZE 2006
PRAISE FOR WHITE MUGHALS 'No brief review can do justice to its manifold excellence and all one can say is that Dalrymple manages the incredible feat of outpointing most historians and novelists in one go. This is quite simply a stunning achievement.' Frank McLynn, Independent on Sunday 'William Dalrymple is that rarity: a scholar of history who can really write. His story of cultural collisions is beautifully told, and brings British India vividly back to life; but it also a tale with many contemporary echoes.' Salman Rushdie 'A gorgeous, spellbinding and important book... A tapestry of magnificent set pieces and a moving romance. William Dalrymple's story of a colonial love affair will change our views about British India.' Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times
William Dalrymple was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of the Firth of Forth. He wrote the highly acclaimed bestseller In Xanadu when he was twenty-two. His last book, White Mughals, won the Wolfson Prize for History 2003 and the Scottish Book of the Year Prize. A stage version by Christopher Hampton has just been co-commissioned by the National Theatre and the Tamasha Theatre Company.William Dalrymple is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society. His Radio 4 series on the history of British spirituality and mysticism, The Long Search, won the 2002 Sandford St Martin Prize for Religious Broadcasting. He is married to the artist Olivia Fraser, and they have three children. They divide their time between London, Scotland and Delhi.