Animal Labor and Colonial Warfare is narrower than its title suggests. Its study of human-animal systems in colonial contexts is largely focused on one less-studied animal, the camel. The setting is their deployment in British military operations into Afghanistan originating from the Indus basin, with a side glance at World War I in Iraq and Syria.

Five chapters form part one, titled “Warfare and Logistics in Saharasia,” while another five chapters are grouped under “Colonial Transformations.” Most chapters are concerned with camels, but chapter 3 considers late nineteenth-century efforts to develop a corps of army transport mules, through both local breeding and imports.

Chapter 1 provides a detailed account of how enormous numbers of camels died on the 1878–80 expedition into Afghanistan because of poor planning and ignorant handling. It is followed by an account of the Upper Indus basin before major irrigation transformed it. James L. Hevia argues that...

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