“Deborah Baker is the author of “Making of Farm”; “In Extremis”, which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize for Biography.”
My interest and familiarity with the early years of British Raj in India got me the book “The Last Englishmen” in my hand. It has helped me to understand the later years of British Raj from different perspective. The rise of communism and exposure of Indian fear because of Japanese invasion has been explored in the book from the perspective of lesser known Bengal literate Sudhin Datta.
“The Last Englishmen” begins like a novel by developing characters: Explorers, painters, geologists, and poets. Deborah Baker explores the characters, such as, W.H. Auden, Michael and Stephen Spender who was later discovered as a poet by Eliot. She festooned those characters to a common base which is beautiful.
However, the frequent changes of the characters and backgrounds make the book quite confusing and challenging. Personally, I am fascinated by their work—from gathering of photogenic intelligence to poetry—during the World War II.
The vast research that has been put into this book is impressive. She highlights John Auden and Michael Spender, and their increasingly acclaimed more youthful siblings. They chipped away at the estimating things and endeavored to climb the Mt. Everest. During 1920s and 1930s, there were few endeavors made to climb the Mt. Everest which often ended in disappointment with loss of lives.
Overall, this book is helpful for those with interest in imperial India and geographical survey. Through her lens, Baker incorporates specialists, lawmakers, instructors, athletes, and scholars of the British Indian culture. All the characters and events have effect on what India and Pakistan would become after independence from British Raj.
Author: Deborah Baker
Publisher: Graywolf Press