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Clive: The Life and Death of a British Emperor

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The real-life story of Robert Clive would be judged as wildly implausible if it came from the pen of a novelist.

Clive of India was one of the most extraordinary and colorful figures Britain ever produced. The founder of Britain's Indian empire, he was also Britain's first great guerrilla fighter by the age of twenty-seven, conqueror of Bengal at thirty-one, and avenging angel of righteousness against the greed of his own fellow-countrymen at ...
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2000 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Slight edgwear, never read. We ship daily. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 416 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

The real-life story of Robert Clive would be judged as wildly implausible if it came from the pen of a novelist.

Clive of India was one of the most extraordinary and colorful figures Britain ever produced. The founder of Britain's Indian empire, he was also Britain's first great guerrilla fighter by the age of twenty-seven, conqueror of Bengal at thirty-one, and avenging angel of righteousness against the greed of his own fellow-countrymen at forty-one. In his later life Parliament brought him under painful scrutiny and he ended up one of the most hated men in Britain. He died violently under still-mysterious circumstances just before his fiftieth birthday.

The story of Clive can be viewed on several levels: as a spirited military adventure by a man who defied death many times, who withstood the greatest siege in British military history, and conspired to force one of the most absolute and cruellest monarchs on earth off his throne; as the morality tale of a penniless young man who became the sole ruler of a huge empire, ended up as one of the richest men in Britain and was then brought to account and driven to despair; or as the story of a plundering early poacher-turned-gamekeeper who sought to establish a moral and legal order amidst slaughter and greed.

Clive today lies buried in an unknown grave in an obscure corner of rural Shropshire, a reflection of the controversy he aroused in his lifetime and that still surrounds his legacy and the manner of his death. In this lively and revealing study Robert Harvey illuminates Clive's life's journey from the green fields surrounding Market Drayton through his adventures in India, his drive to success andself-destruction, to his vicious and premature death, by suicide or murder.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Harvey, a former member of Parliament and journalist for the Economist, has written prolifically on topics as diverse as Portugal, Japan, Latin America, and noted individuals in British history (see, e.g., Cochrane: The Life and Exploits of a Fighting Captain, reviewed below). Published in Great Britain in 1998, this is a popular account of Robert Clive, the 18th-century statesman whose career in India helped define the imperial role of Britain on the India subcontinent. Alas, this work merely retells the story often told before and makes no effort to ask new questions or raise new perspectives regarding an extremely complex and influential individual. No sources are given for the numerous quotes, and there is a complete absence of accounts from India or interest in Indian perceptions. Libraries that already have a biography or two of Clive can safely pass on this title.--Donald Clay Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312265694
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/16/2000
  • Edition description: 1ST US
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Harvey is a former British MP who spent nine years on the foreign staff of The Economist, where he became assistant editor. He lives in Powys, Wales and London.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2004

    A story beyond belief, but in crying need of severe editing

    Mr. Harvey has been under-served by his editor: there is too much reinteration/recapitulation so the story staggers blindly for smooth continuity.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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