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Steve Savage Publishers Ltd
CoverThe Last Burrah Sahibs

Max Scratchmann

Finalist in The People's Book Prize

book prize
isbn 9781904246381 rrp 8.50 paperback illustrated 192 pages ebook available

A warm and witty look at the unofficial last years of British Colonial Life (as seen through the eyes of a small boy growing up out East in the dissolving remnants of the British Raj)...

After being compulsorily retired from an Indian jute mill and returning to Dundee in the mid 1960s, Max Scratchmann's family cannot settle down to life in Scotland. So, when the chance of a three-year contract in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) is offered, they promptly fly off to live the colonial life one last time.

Aided and abetted by the mischievous Mafzal, his paan-addicted driver, eleven-year-old Max rediscovers the forgotten lifestyle of his early childhood, and meets a cast of colourfully eccentric characters amongst both the émigré British and the indigenous population along the way.

On the surface, life for jute wallahs' children may seem to be an endless parade of swimming pool parties and badly-dubbed Italian art movies, but growing political unrest and brushes with street rioting show that these are indeed stolen years, and The Last Burrah Sahibs is an engaging and heartfelt chronicle of growing up in a culture that is now well and truly lost.

Readers' reactions: 'Max, you have no idea how much I am enjoying your book "The Last Burrah Sahibs". You are simply a fab writer!' ... 'I absolutely loved your book, Max. I finished it in one go from 5 this morning. More!!!!' ... 'Really enjoyed reading this book and would thoroughly recommend it ... a wonderful insight of that period' ... 'Manages to cover both the experiences and enthusiasms of the school child with a hint of what was going on in a wider world' ... 'A wonderful book detailing a forgotten chapter in our Imperial history. Amusing, informative and moving, this work is one that is not easily forgotten'

See Max's trailer on YouTube. Check out The Last Burrah Sahibs on Facebook. Buy the T-shirt at Redbubble.


Max Scratchmann is the son of a Dundee jute wallah and was born in Calcutta, India, in 1956. He is a well-known illustrator and humorist, and a mainstay contributor of comic verse to the Peculiar Poetry anthologies. Some of his other books include Scotland for Beginners (a prequel to The Last Burrah Sahibs), Bad Girls (crime fiction) and his unintentionally controversial account of downshifting in the Orkney islands, Chucking It All.

'Three years of magical, colour-filled childhood ... Max Scratchmann takes us from the grey-faced Dundee of his early years to life amid the scorching, bustling streets of politically nervous Chittagong in the years preceding the country's independence ... tells his story and introduces his characters with the easy style of a practised humorist ... warm and witty recollections'
-- Ian Smith, The Scots Magazine

'A look through the eyes of a small boy at a disappearing world ... His tales of a childhood spent in an exotic culture show a vibrant, interesting and cosmopolitan world that was still strongly linked to "home" ... Funny, personal and moving, it's an elegy to a lost past but one that also helped to shape the Max of the future'
-- Helen Brown, The Courier