An unusual and engrossing effort by a career academic, The Scourge of the Mission tells the life story of the Italian Capuchin friar, Padre Marco della Tomba (1726–1803).
Padre Marco worked in Bettiah, near Patna, as a missionary of the Tibet-Hindustan Mission, and during his time there he recorded and commented on a number of critical events of the late eighteenth century in the subcontinent’s history.
The Scourge of the Mission is told in the first person since more than half the book is translated directly from essays and letters written in Italian by Padre Marco, while the remaining parts have been written by David Lorenzen mostly on the basis of Marco’s letters and essays and those of some of his colleagues in the Mission.
For long we have read volumes on the tumultuous eighteenth century by South Asian historians. This fascinating and unusual effort places an important source directly in the hands of interested readers.
David N. Lorenzen is Professor of South Asian History at the Center for Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de Mexico.
David N. Lorenzen