His latest book, Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, is the last in what he calls the East India Company trilogy, following White Mughals and The Last Mughal.
It tells what happened when the British Governor-General of India was convinced to invade Afghanistan – in order to save India, ‘the jewel of the British empire’, from an imaginary Russian threat. Of course, this paved the path for subsequent wars … and sheds devastating light on the one being waged now.
Dalrymple has immersed himself in literature telling the Afghan side of the story; the result is, according to the Guardian, ‘a racy tale of imperial misadventure and Victorian jihadism’ that shows us ‘ourselves as others see us’.
William Dalrymple appears as part of a double-bill with Anita Desai. (rodneyvc)