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The Story Of The Malakand Field Force: An Episode Of Frontier War
by Winston Churchill
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On general grounds I deprecate prefaces. I have always thought that if an author cannot make friends with the reader, and explain his objects, in two or three hundred pages, he is not likely to do so in fifty lines. And yet the temptation of speaking a few words behind the scenes, as it were, is so strong that few writers are able to resist it. I shall not try.
The episode with which this chapter is concerned is one that has often occurred on the out-post line of civilisation, and which is peculiarly frequent in the history of a people whose widespread Empire is fringed with savage tribes. A small band of soldiers or settlers, armed with the resources of science, and strengthened by the cohesion of mutual trust, are assailed in some isolated post, by thousands of warlike and merciless enemies. Usually the courage and equipment of the garrison enable them to hold out until a relieving force arrives, as at Rorke's Drift, Fort Chitral, Chakdara or Gulistan. But sometimes the defenders are overwhelmed, and, as at Saraghari or Khartoum, none are left to tell the tale.
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