Soldiers, Scholars and Spies
The Men Who Charted the British Empire
- Robert Fleming
15th April 2025
In this fascinating book, National Army Museum historian Robert Fleming explores the manoeuvring, espionage and intelligence that took place behind the scenes of the British Empire and the extraordinary men and women who were involved in it.
The creation and maintenance of an empire required powerful armed forces and the British Empire was no exception. But, as this book shows, away from the battlefield a constant political game was also being played, one that was just as important to maintaining imperial power, if not more so. From foreign policy and diplomatic manoeuvring to espionage and intelligence work, there was a continual effort to gain advantage over rivals.
The author follows the stories of the courageous men and women who often played a double role as soldiers, scholars, archaeologists and travellers while also being involved in espionage, intrigue and diplomacy. From Colin Campbell, Augustus Pitt Rivers and Flinders Petrie to Thomas (T.E. Lawrence) and Gertrude Bell, they all played a part in the extraordinary intrigue of science, humanities, politics, espionage and diplomacy that helped to maintain an empire. As the book shows, they were also the inspiration behind the action heroes such as Alain Quatermain, Indiana Jones and James Bond.