The Black Hole

The Black Hole : Money, Myth and Empire

3.12 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

One small event in 18th-century India has proved an enduring myth, and an enduring puzzle. In 1756, the Nawab of Bengal besieged the British East India Company's fort at Calcutta, and 146 people were locked in a tiny cell. The following morning, only 23 emerged: all the rest had died horribly of suffocation or thirst. That is the version enshrined in the history books for centuries. But was it true? What really happened in the Black Hole is shrouded by layers of self-interest, emotion and propaganda. Its real power is as a symbol. Jan Dalley takes us through a rattling history of the buccaneer 'hatmen' of the East India Company, tracing the growth of the fledgling city of Calcutta. She brilliantly, and with fabulous and pointed detail, describes the places and the people of this amazing story, whether it is the Eurasian teenage bride Mary Carey, the lone woman survivor, the weak English officer class running the Fort of Calcutta, or the imperious, truculent Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-daulah. The way in which the narrative was told and re-told, and how it became one of those stories around which nations form an idea of themselves, is the focus of this book. "The Black Hole" will fascinate everyone interested in India, in British history and in a new look at Empire.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 143 x 224 x 23mm | 414g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • Fig Tree
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0670914479
  • 9780670914470
  • 1,369,203

Author information

Jan Dalley is the arts editor of the Financial Times; for several years before that she was the paper's literary editor, and she is the author of numerous features and reviews on the arts and books, as well as a fortnightly column in the FT Weekend section. In 1999 she published a biography of Diana Mosley; she has also published translations from French and Russian. She has three children and lives in London.show more

Rating details

8 ratings
3.12 out of 5 stars
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4 12% (1)
3 50% (4)
2 25% (2)
1 0% (0)
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