The First Afghan War (1838-1842) saw the British suffer one of the most humiliating defeats of the 19th Century, when an army that had occupied Kabul was wiped out while attempting to retreat to India.
This book is based on two diaries produced during the war. The first was written by Lady Florentia Sale, the wife of General Sir Robert Sale, one of the more successful British commanders of the war. Lady Sale was trapped in Kabul with the main army, took part in the early part of retreat and was then captured by the Afghans.
The second diary was produced by the Reverand Isaac Allen, a chaplain who accompanied the army of retribution that eventually reached Kabul, rescued the prisoners and returned safely to India.
Kekewich has taken an unusual approach to this material. Instead of printing the two diaries, she has chosen to write an account of the war as seen by the two diarists, but in her own words. This allows her to fill in the gaps in our diarists' knowledge and there are plenty of extracts from both diaries to give us a feel for the originals. The result is an unusual but interesting look at two parts of the First Afghan War, a conflict that feels more relevant now than for many years.
Part I: Lady Florentia Sale's Journal, September 1841-September 1842
1 - Kabul, 'My Sweetpeas and Geraniums were Much Admired'
2 - Kabul, Disaster
3 - The Retreat Through the Passes
4 - Captivity in the Laghman Valley
5 - Back to Kabul
6 - 'I Think He Will Not Cut Our Throats', Bamian and Freedom
Part II: The Reverend Isaac Allen's Diary, April 1841-February 1843
1 - The 'Perfect Griffin', the Journey Through Sind
2 - Through the Passes to Kandahar
3 - Kandahar, 'An Abundance of Lettuces'
4 - The March to Ghazni
5 - Kabul, 'The Bazaars were Very Handsome for Affghanistan'
6 - 'Ladies Upon Enormous Elephants', the Return to Ferozepore
Author: Margaret Kekewich
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military