The Butcher of Amritsar : General Reginald Dyer


The Butcher of Amritsar : General Reginald Dyer

Nigel Collett

Hambledon and London , Distributed in the United States and Canada exclusively by Palgrave Macmillan, 2005

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Includes bibliographical references (p. [515]-548) and index



On April 13 1919, General Reginald Dyer marched a squad of Indian soldiers into the Jallianwala Bagh, a large enclosed public space in the holy city of Amritsar, and opened fire without warning on a crowd gathered to hear political speeches, leaving over 200 dead. To some Dyer was the saviour of India, responding decisively to threatened insurrection, but to many in India, including Ganhdi and Nehru, his action proved the moral bankruptcy of the British Empire. The bitter debate that followed the shootings, the worst atrocity perpetrated by the British in the twentieth century, almost brought down the Liberal Government and was a decisive turning point in India's march to independence. The Butcher of Amritsar is a definitive account of the massacre set in the context of a biography of Reginald Dyer, a man whose attitudes reflected many of the views common in the Raj.


  • Chapter 1: Simla
  • Chapter 2: Cork
  • Chapter 3: Ireland and Burma
  • Chapter 4: The Black Mountain
  • Chapter 5: The Relief of Chitral
  • Chapter 6: Staff College
  • Chapter 7: Instructor
  • Chapter 8: The Zakka Khel
  • Chapter 9: Hong Kong
  • Chapter 10: The First World War
  • Chapter 11: Seistan
  • Chapter 12: The Sarhadd
  • Chapter 13: Pyrrhic Victory
  • Chapter 14: Abbottabad

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