Lieutenant General Sir Barney White-Spunner KCB CBE has written extensively about country sports, as a correspondent for THE FIELD since 1992 and editor of BAILY’S HUNTING DIRECTORY, and its associated stable of publications, since 1994. In 1995 he was the Deputy Leader of the joint Chinese British Taklamakan Expedition, which made the first crossing of the Taklamakan desert from west to east, whilst revisiting many of the sites originally discovered by Sir Aurel Stein on the silk routes. A serving Major General in the British Army, he commanded the NATO operation to disarm the Albanian factions in Macedonia in 2001 and the Kabul Multi National Brigade, charged with security in Kabul following the fall of the Taliban, in 2002. He was also Chief of Staff of British Forces in the Middle East during the Iraq War, and ran the military relief operations for the Tsumami.
Born in 1957, married to Moo who runs a chain of Montessori Schools, and with three children, he lives in Dorset.
PATRITION — Buy it here
Between January and August 1947 the conflicting political, religious and social tensions in India culminated in independence from Britain and the creation of Pakistan. Those months saw the end of ninety years of the British Raj, and the effective power of the Maharajahs, as the Congress Party established itself commanding a democratic government in Delhi. They also witnessed the rushed creation of Pakistan as a country in two halves whose capitals were two thousand kilometers apart. From September to December 1947 the euphoria surrounding the realization of the dream of independence dissipated into shame and incrimination; nearly 1 million people died and countless more lost their homes and their livelihoods as partition was realized. The events of those months would dictate the history of South Asia for the next seventy years, leading to three wars, countless acts of terrorism, polarization around the Cold War powers and to two nations with millions living in poverty spending disproportionate amounts on their military. The roots of much of the violence in the region today, and worldwide, are in the decisions taken that year.
Not only were those decisions controversial but the people who made them were themselves to become some of the most enduring characters of the twentieth century. Gandhi and Nehru enjoyed almost saint like status in India, and still do, whilst Jinnah is lionized in Pakistan. The British cast, from Churchill to Attlee and Mountbatten, find their contribution praised and damned in equal measure. Yet it is not only the national players whose stories fascinate. Many of those ordinary people who witnessed the events of that year are still alive. Although most were, predictably, only children, there are still some in their late eighties and nineties who have a clear recollection of the excitement and the horror. Illustrating the story of 1947 with their experiences and what independence and partition meant to the farmers of the Punjab, those living in Lahore and Calcutta, or what it felt like to be a soldier in a divided and largely passive army, makes the story real. Partition will bring to life this terrible era for the Indian Sub Continent.
“White-Spunner’s book offers a thoroughly competent, clear and moving narrative of what happened in 1947” Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
“All three of these fraught processes – the independence struggle, the acceptance of partition, and the genocidal madness it unleashed – are addressed in Barney White-Spunner’s grim but admirably impartial Partition. Like everyone else, White-Spunner wonders why it all went so wrong: who was to blame, why was the violent fallout not foreseen, and why did the killing go unchecked? But unlike other writers on the subject, White-Spunner is neither an academic, an old India hand, nor an empire disloyalist. He is the lieutenant general who commanded the British forces in Basra in 2008 and later mustered the Barbour-clad battalions of the Countryside Alliance. He understands the limitations of deployment, knows the challenges of disengagement, and feels strongly about the political constraints under which military commanders are expected to help to keep the peace.” John Keay, TLS
“This racy, well-written and carefully documented account by a retired general turned historian offers some important and timely reminders about both the political causes of partition and its devastating human impact” Zareer Masani, The Wire
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
PUBLICATION DATE: 17th August 2017
OF LIVING VALOUR – Buy it here
For the first time a modern British history tells the story of the against the odds triumph of the Battle of Waterloo through the accounts of the regimental officers and soldiers whose bravery and resolution achieved victory. Waterloo was the first major battle in which the citizen soldier played an important part – a new class of soldier reflecting the Industrial Revolution, which had so transformed Britain in the preceding thirty years. In many ways it was an army that looked forward to the twentieth century rather than back to the eighteenth. It was also a battle fought and won by British soldiers who believed in what they were fighting for against a resurgent Napoleon. They were a remarkably literate army, and for the first time there are multiple accounts of personal experiences from a generation to whom education was becoming available. With a concise, fast moving account in four parts covering first the mobilisation and why people went; secondly the waiting before Waterloo, then the battle itself and finally the aftermath, ex-Commander of the British Army Barney White-Spunner tells the story through the experiences of those who fought there and their families, offering his unique perspective on the events. The story focuses on mens’ personal feelings and their relationships, with each other, their families, their leaders and their enemies. It tells the stories of their lives, what they had left behind and why and what they went back to. It vividly captures their daily routine, their life in camp and how they fought at first hand, their fear, excitement and exhaustion, as opposed to how generals manoeuvred formations around the battlefield. The Battle of Waterloo was one of the most significant ever fought by a British army, but it was also one of the most bloody with about 50,000 men losing their lives over three days. What was it like for those who fought and for their families waiting at home? This is their story.
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
PUBLICATION DATE: 19th May 2016
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This is the first major history of the Household Cavalry, which consists of the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals – the three oldest and most senior regiments in the British Army. As such they were, and continue today to be the most senior regiments in the Army. Created at the beginning of Charles II’s restoration but with an organisation based on Cromwell’s Ironsides, they were to be an integral part, not only of of the coming decades but of the British Isles’ continuing history.
Illustrated in full colour throughout with exclusive period paintings, objects and maps, from the Household Cavalry’s archives and museum, many never before published, this book takes the reader on a 350-year historical narrative from Cromwell and the English Civil Wars, James II and the Battle of Sedgemoor, through Wellington and Waterloo, and Victoria and the Boer Wars right through to Churchill and the Second World War – some of the most important military episodes in our history.
A unique book about a unique British institution.