BRIGHT EYES OF DANGER | Bill Whitburn

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BRIGHT EYES OF DANGER | Bill Whitburn

Postby petergoose » 24 Jul 2015 18:31

Just ordered this today,it looks pretty good. As soon as it arrives I will put up some info on it ,you know maps quality etc. Once I've read it I will put here a full review.
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Re: bright eyes of danger,helion books

Postby petergoose » 28 Jul 2015 12:11

OK book just came through my letterbox a hour ago. Its written by bill whitburn and the full title is :bright eyes of danger,an account of the Anglo Sikh wars 1854-1849.
Like most helion books it has what some folk describe as a funny "feel",its about 300 pages of text including appendixes. Hardback and costs £35.00 plus postage but if you go to amazon and buy from a dealer called dagwood books you,like me,will get it for £20 plus postage.
The book has plenty maps but they appear to be division/ brigade level not regiment/ battalion level. Anyway I'll be finished reading it about Friday and will post a full review.
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Re: bright eyes of danger,helion books

Postby petergoose » 03 Aug 2015 20:14

Just finished. Hmm,OK I enjoyed this book,well researched,well(and occasionally wittily) written. A decent read,buuut. I don't see what's here militarily for the dedicated Sikh wars buff. The political/social side is very well covered,too much so. We all know that military history cannot be studied in a vaccum,that's clear but this book goes to far to the detriment of the accounts of the various battles.
The first 130 odd pages deal with the political situation then mudki is done in six pages with not one map. Ferozeshah is covered in a dozen or so pages with one poor map for reference. In fact to be honest the maps are pretty terrible all round with nothing in the way of countors or other terrain features,the maps are well,basic.
To top it of I see little attempt to discover new information about ANY of the battles. Where the battles are concerned its pretty much regurgitation over research.
What puzzles me is a book on the Sikh wars with a £35 price tag is by and large going to be purchased by someone with a fairly decent understanding of the wars already. I don't really see what's here for them. I will allow I found the accounts of the battles of the second war a bit better though I suspect that's due to the fact my working knowledge of the second war is far less than the first.

It was a decent read but that's it,nothing more

At the same time I got this book I got another by helion. Radetzky's marches a military history of the campaigns in Italy in 1848/49. That book is a work of first rate military history. The reasons for the campaigns are complex and long in gathering but in a short space its explained well politically, socially and economically. Then the battles are described in great detail with many good maps,full orders of battle etc.
In comparison bright eyes of danger is simply a general history of the Sikh wars and not a detailed military account of the wars which it by the way bills itself as.

Buy Singh or even featherstone and hope for a new second Sikh war book. Bright eyes of danger reads well enough but that's it.
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Re: bright eyes of danger,helion books

Postby Frogsmile » 26 Aug 2015 17:19

Thanks for taking the trouble to provide such a thorough review Peter. I will now stick with Featherstone for the moment.
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Re: bright eyes of danger,helion books

Postby petergoose » 27 Aug 2015 13:26

No problem,its not that its a bad book its just I don't see(for the steep price)it offers for the dedicated military history buff.
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Re: bright eyes of danger,helion books

Postby Mark » 28 Aug 2015 21:07

Isn't this one a re-print of an old(ish) book?

Amarpal Sidhu's 'First Anglo-Sikh War' book is hard to beat, and I believe his second book - about the Second Anglo-Sikh War - is not far off completion.

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Re: bright eyes of danger,helion books

Postby bill wright » 01 Sep 2015 23:03

Dear Mark
Thanks for thoughtful review. I live abroad so won`t be picking up a copy until I am in UK in the autumn, when I see that same publisher is also bringing out two most interesting titles - "The Raugh Bibliography of the Indian Mutiny" and also a long overdue re-evaluation of Field Marshal Lord Gough (hero of the 1st China and both Sikh Wars) by the historian, Christopher Brice, who last tackled Henry Brackenbury with the same publisher.
I can sympathise with any author wanting to write a full account of a campaign since the political aspects quite rightly deserve proper consideration. At the same time, colonial wars such as the Anglo-Sikh ones, are so full of fascinating battles that the military aspects cry out for re-evaluation. Both two wars have a goldmine of sources including lots of unpublished material.
The important thing for a writer today is to look for what has not been used, to get down into those dusty archives and do some original research or even try and re-visit the battle sites. Its time-consuming, and most certainly costly if you want to see archives abroad, or do field trips, but at the end of the day it pays off.
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Re: bright eyes of danger,helion books

Postby petergoose » 07 Sep 2015 18:07

A book on the second war by amarpal is a absolute must buy.

Bright eyes of danger is a new book not a reissued oldy. Helion books is one of the best companies out there. I just got two new book from them last week on ww1 aviation. Both are great. There are a few books on the Victorian period due of soon and a new book on the battle of solferino in December just in time for "international present receiving day". Oh, I forgot a new book on the Sikh armies is coming out soon that looks pretty good.
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