During Queen Victoria's reign British power was at its zenith: the export trade boomed, the Royal Navy ruled the waves, huge chunks of the map were coloured red. Yet almost every year saw British troops in action in some part of the globe. From the equatorial rain-forests of Ghana to the green hills of New Zealand, British redcoat, Indian mercenary and colonial volunteers fought for Queen and Empire - and mostly won. This fascinating book examines the other side of the Victorian penny - times when the soldiers of the Queen stumbled. The narrative is full of evocative contemporary eyewitness accounts and contains an incisive analysis of various catastrophes, including the Retreat from Kabul in 1842, the Charge of the Light Brigade at Baclava, the 1879 Invasion of Zululand, and the Battles of Majuba Hill and Spion Kop.
Denis Judd is Professor of British Imperial and Commonwealth History at the University of North London. He appears frequently on radio and is a regular reviewer for most national newspapers and literary journals.