It may come as some surprise that in such a popular area of military history there is no book that focuses on the experience of the Victorian soldier--from recruitment to embarkation, fighting, and perhaps returning, perhaps dying -- in his own words. Dr. Manning's meticulous research in primary sources gives the lie to the received image of the disciplined, redcoated campaigner of Victorian art and literature--for one thing, by the time he arrived at his destination, the coat would have been in rags. The distances covered on march were unbelievable, through desert and disease-ravaged swamp. Lavishly illustrated thoughout, all the major Colonial campaigns and most of the minor ones are featured. To understand how what was in reality a tiny standing army controlled the largest empire the world has ever seen, this book is a must.