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The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the Raj

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Amazon Price: £5.99 (as of October 17, 2017 12:08 pm – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Also available on amazon.com for £5.99 (as of October 3, 2017 11:01 pm – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

From the late 19th century, when the Raj was at its height, many of Britain's best and brightest young men went out to India to work as administrators, soldiers and businessmen. With the advent of steam travel and the opening of the Suez Canal, countless young women, suffering at the lack of eligible men in Britain, followed in their wake. This amorphous band was composed of daughters returning after their English education, girls invited to stay with married sisters or friends, and yet others whose declared or undeclared goal was simply to find a husband. They were known as the Fishing Fleet, and this book is their story, hitherto untold.

For these young women, often away from home for the first time, one thing they could be sure of was a rollicking good time. By the early 20th century, a hectic social scene was in place, with dances, parties, amateur theatricals, picnics, tennis tournaments, cinemas and gymkhanas, with perhaps a tiger shoot and a glittering dinner at a raja's palace thrown in. And, with men outnumbering women by roughly four to one, romances were conducted at alarming speed and marriages were frequent. But after the honeymoon, life often changed dramatically: whisked off to a remote outpost with few other Europeans for company, and where constant vigilance was required to guard against disease, they found it a far cry from the social whirlwind of their first arrival.

Anne de Courcy's sparkling narrative is enriched by a wealth of first-hand sources – unpublished memoirs, letters and diaries rescued from attics – which bring this forgotten era vividly to life.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3869 KB
  • Print Length: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 1st edition (12 July 2012)
  • Sold by:  Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007N6VHE2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Not Enabled
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Customer Reviews

I brought this for a friend but have read it …

 on 14 October 2017
By Ms. Katherine J. Taylor
I brought this for a friend but have read it earlier myself. An interesting description of life for the young women who went to India in the hope of marrying and their lives both while unmarried and wives in India. A description of the hardships (climate, insects remote postings) and pleasures (parties, pomp and summer stations_ of life for British in the Raj. Although it covers the whole period of the Raj the focus is on the later days. Several interesting life stories.

India – here we come.

 on 2 August 2017
By m. webster
An easy read and a revealing insight to the much maligned British in India. Evenly balanced noting the stultifying social rules and snobbery, but equally making clear the decency of the ‘conquerers’ trying to rule in a benign manner. Young women should read this book and marvel at their ancestors stoicism.

Good read

One person found this helpful.
 on 11 March 2017
By KWAdms
Thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I have already read this book and enjoyed it so bought this for a friend

2 people found this helpful.
 on 23 December 2015
By BINA P.
I have already read this book and enjoyed it so bought this for a friend. An excellent book for anybody interested in the British Raj.

Four Stars

 on 12 October 2017
By Amazon Customer
Recommended, enjoyable read about a different era.

History made real

12 people found this helpful.
 on 6 September 2012
By Boris
This beautifully written book was a real page turner, especially since my paternal grandparents fit the mould. My grandfather was in the ICS and married my grandmother in a whirlwind romance on one of his long 3 year leaves. When my father read this book he immediately ordered copies for the rest of the family so that they could understand his story. Sent back to England at the age of 5 with his younger brother he suffered enormously from the absence of his parents and was determined to do better for us. The war and the break-up of Empire broke the tradition but this wonderful book explains perfectly the price that was paid by so many.

Just how my mother told it!

22 people found this helpful.
 on 24 October 2012
By Cornwallgurl
I bought this book for obvious reasons – my mother (born Ooticamund 1908, living in Ceylon with her family in the mid 20’s, met & married my father who visited in an RN Warship) was one of the kind of people written about. Her own mother’s family went back at least two generations in India and all met and married similar families out there. Obviously, with quite a lot of background, I found it riveting, loved the pictures and thought the style elegant and informed. I wasn’t concerned about the piecemeal nature of the memoirs, and thought them well marshalled and edited.

The Fishing Fleet: Husband Hunting in the Raj

114 people found this helpful.
 on 15 July 2012
By S Riaz
I have always loved Anne De Courcy’s biographies and books about social history of women, including the excellent 
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