SOCIAL SCIENCES

Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary

Bloomsbury USA. Jan. 2015. 432p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781632860811. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781632860828. HIST
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OrangeReviewStarBBC radio and television journalist Anand tells the story of Sophia Duleep Singh (1876–1948), born in exile in England but the rightful heiress to a rich and mighty Indian empire—the Kingdom of the Sikhs. Raised as a privileged Englishwoman with Queen Victoria for a godmother, Sophia's life took an unexpected turn when she dared to travel to her ancestral home in India. While there, she found herself moved by the plight of her kinsmen who languished under British rule, and upon her return to England she realized that she could no longer be content with the dog shows and frivolous parties that formerly filled her days. Instead, Sophia embarked on a rebellious journey that would result in her championing the causes of Indian independence, women's rights, and even Indian soldiers fighting for the British crown during World War I.
VERDICT Anand writes with a journalist's sense for a solid story and a historian's eye for fascinating anecdotes. Filled with rich detail and walks through little-known avenues of the past, this work is bound to enchant history lovers, those interested in women's studies, Anglophiles, and anyone who enjoys biographies.

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