THE UGLY AMERICAN (285 pp.)William J. Lederer and Eugene BurdickNorton ($3.75).
The British East India Company thought it would be a good idea to annex Sind, a sizable province in what is now Pakistan. General Sir Charles James Napier, G.C.B., was glad to oblige, and before long he was able to send a progress report to his superiors. He did so, one legend has it, in a signal that represents one of history's more famous puns: "Pec-cam [I have sinned]."
Sir Charles presumably did not feel in the least sinful for adding yet another jewel to Queen Victoria's imperial crown.
But that was in...