POLITICAL SCIENCE

The Patient Assassin: A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge, and India’s Quest for Independence

Scribner. Jun. 2019. 384p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781501195709. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781501195723. POL SCI
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On April 13, 1919, Sir Michael O’Dwyer, lieutenant governor of Punjab in British-occupied India, ordered his Brigadier General Reginald Dyer to quell an unauthorized protest in a public garden called Jallianwalah Bagh. Rather than simply order the protestors to disperse peacefully, Dyer had his men open fire on nearly 20,000 citizens, many of whom were women and children. The death toll is uncertain, with ranges estimated between 300 to more than 1,000. Anand (Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary) tells this tale of Udham Singh, a man who was present that day, and Singh’s plans for executing his revenge for the murder of his people. Singh learns how to disguise himself, charms people for access into their inner circle, and eventually assassinates one of the major players in the massacre from his youth.

VERDICT While the details can get tedious as the story unfolds, this book is recommended for fans of Anand’s previous works, biographies of political assassins, and histories of British-controlled India.

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