India's Armed Forces: Fifty Years of War and Peace. By Ashok Krishna, AVSM. New Delhi, India, and Hartford, Wisc.: Lancer Publishers, 1998. Maps. Illustrations. Index. Pp. ix, 181. $20.00 ISBN 1-897829-47-7
Major General Krishna's book attempts to offer a brief history of India's military forces following partition in 1947. Paradoxically, this both works and doesn't work well. His arrangement works in the sense that the reader receives an insider's point of view on Indian military history. It doesn't work from the perspective that the history is biased in some parts. However, again paradoxically, this doesn't constitute a problem if the reader understands that the book has been written from a certain point of view and inherently contains biases. Moreover, if the reader is particularly trying to explore how an Indian military officer writing on the topic of Indian military history views that history, the book is perfect.
One of the most interesting aspects of this book lies in the glances that one gets at the viewpoints of a career general officer from the Indian Army. While some of the general's comments are what one might expect as the "party line" with regards to conflicts between India and Pakistan and India and China, some comments about relations with other states, such as the United States, do not appear quite as orthodox. In some ways, this can lead to further questions about the differences in thought between different sectors in Indian society.
The main way in which the bias of the author becomes a...