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A Soldier's View of Empire - The Reminiscences of James Bodell 1831-92
A Soldier's View of Empire - The Reminiscences of James Bodell 1831-92
Sinclair, Keith (editor)
James Bodell was born in 1831 near Nottingham, the son of poor parents. At sixteen he enlisted in the army and was sent first ti Ireland, then slowly recovering from the great potato famine, and then to Hong Kong, where most of his regiment died of malaria or other tropical diseases. He bought himself out of the army and went to Van Diemen's Land (later Tasmania) where he kept a hotel, but eventually became disgusted with the atmosphere of a recent convict settlement. In 1856 he moved to Victoria, where the great gold rush had begun, prospered, but finally lost his money in unwise speculation during a period of excessive drinking. In 1863 he volunteered to serve in New Zealand in the Maori wars. Discharged in 1866, he was given a town lot of land as well as farming land by the government at the town of Tauranga, where he was an outstanding pioneer, making money and becoming Mayor. He later made two return trips to England to visit his family in Leicester. In about 1881 he began to write his reminiscences, an ambitious undertaking for a man with so little formal education, and in 1978, on the death of one of his English descendants, the original manuscript was offered to the Bodley Head for publication. It has been edited by Keith Sinclair, and presents a unique picture of how the British Empire was colonized and wjhat life in the British army of the time was like in the ranks. This is a frank, often amusing and very colourful account of the Empire seen from below...
Second hand Hardback