Golden Oriole

Raleigh Trevelyan, Author Viking Books $24.95 (536p) ISBN 978-0-670-81184-7
Among the best-known members of the Trevelyan family, which served in India for nearly 200 years, the most prominent were the great Whig historian Macaulay and Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, founder of the modern Indian civil service. Less famous is 64-year-old Raleigh. Born in the Andaman Islands and raised in Gilgit in the mountainous northwest, he was sent to England when he was eight and eventually became a publisher and prolific author. Interspersed here among his five travel journals, which depict his searches throughout India for evidences of his family's lives and exploits, are letters, papers and reminiscences of his eminent and less distinguished forebears, as well as of Thackeray and E. M. Forster. High points are descriptions of the Mutiny of 1857, the Amritsar massacre of 1919 and his father's experiences as a military man. Many of the tourist vignettes have little relevance to the story of the Trevelyans or of colonial India, yet there are interesting details of life under the Raj. This overlong hodgepodge is certainly kaleidoscopic, bloody and colorful, but neither charming nor masterful. Photos. History Book Club alternate. (October)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
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