Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Military Medicine and the Making of Race
Life and Death in the West India Regiments, 1795–1874

$44.99 (F)

  • Date Published: August 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108797139

$ 44.99 (F)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book demonstrates how Britain's black soldiers helped shape attitudes towards race throughout the nineteenth century. The West India Regiments were part of the British military establishment for 132 years, generating vast records with details about every one of their 100,000+ recruits which made them the best-documented group of black men in the Atlantic World. Tim Lockley shows how, in the late eighteenth century, surgeons established in medical literature that white and black bodies were radically different, forging a notion of the 'superhuman' black soldier able to undertake physical challenges far beyond white soldiers. By the late 1830s, however, military statisticians would contest these ideas and highlight the vulnerabilities of black soldiers instead. The popularity and pervasiveness of these publications spread far beyond British military or medical circles and had a significant international impact, particularly in the US, both reflecting and reinforcing changing notions about blackness.

    • Highlights the importance of the West India Regiments in changing attitudes towards race
    • Demonstrates the crucial role of black soldiers in the evolution of racial thought over the nineteenth century
    • Links racial thought with medical thought to show how race became fixed in the body in the nineteenth century
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    `In this brilliant, perceptive and deeply researched meditation, Tim Lockley shows how the famous West Indian regiments in the Age of Revolution and beyond were crucial in reshaping European attitudes to the racial and medical capacities of black men. His thought-provoking and compelling thesis argues that racial thinking evolved as much through contemplating black soldiers as through the lens of enslavement. Ever stimulating, Military Medicine and the Making of Race encourages us to question what we thought we knew about race thinking.' Trevor Burnard, University of Hull

    ‘This important study sheds new light on the West India Regiments, demonstrating how racial and medical debates underpinned their creation and informed the selection, treatment and the daily lives of the African troops who served. By telling this story, Lockley demonstrates the medical and other hardships experienced by African soldiers, and provides a fresh perspective on how and why the British relied on these regiments to extend their imperial power.' Deborah Neill, University of York

    ‘In clear and accessible prose, Lockley offers cogent analysis of the role the WIR [West India Regiments] and, importantly, the physicians who administered to their men, played in the making of race. Lockley ably mines the rich records generated by the WIR's officers and medical practitioners to chart the evolution of assumptions and attitudes regarding blackness that developed as a result of their comparison of white and black bodies – and the influence these shifting racial ideologies had beyond the bounds of the WIR.' Maria Alessandra Bollettino, Framingham State University, Massachusetts

    ‘… a detailed examination of … notions of race.’ R. T. Ingoglia, Choice

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108797139
    • length: 221 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.304kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Medical necessity and the founding of the West India Regiments
    2. The ideal soldier
    3. The use and abuse of the black soldier
    4. Statistics and the reinterpretation of black bodies
    5. Dehumanising the black soldier
    6. Damage done: the Asante campaigns

  • Author

    Tim Lockley, University of Warwick
    Tim Lockley is Professor of North American History at the University of Warwick and the author of Lines in the Sand: Race and Class in Lowcountry Georgia, 1750–1860 (2001), Welfare and Charity in the Antebellum South (2007) and Maroon Communities in South Carolina (2009).

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.