Rudrangshu Mukherjee’s essays on the Revolt of 1857 have been brought under one cover in The Year of Blood. The book traces the eminent historian’s changing perception of the idea of the Revolt, from his undergraduate days to the present.
The Revolt of 1857 was a passionate phase in Indian history and the quality of writing in The Year of Blood reflects this intensity. Violence has rarely been described with so much realism and subtlety. The imaginative use of primary source materials add clarity to accounts such as the massacre in Satichaura Ghat and the trial of Mangal Pandey.
Rudrangshu Mukherjee places the ‘soldier-peasant’ at the forefront of the Revolt. In lucid prose, he is able to unravel the motives, strategies and organization skills of the mutineers, while exposing the layers of complexity that defined the relationship between the rulers and the subjugated.
The horrific killings described in depth in The Year of Blood cover specific parts of Uttar Pradesh; however, the mood of the wider holocaust is captured through the detailed captions which describe several illustrations, most of which are from private collections.
Rudrangshu Mukherjee is the Editor, Editorial Pages, The Telegraph. He taught in the Department of History, University of Calcutta and held visiting appointments at Princeton University, Manchester University and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author and editor of a number of books.