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Ebook India: A History by John Keay read! Book Title: India: A History
Date of issue: 2003
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The author of the book: John Keay
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 378 KB
Edition: The Folio Society

Read full description of the books India: A History:

How do you boil down thousands of years of civilization, empires, kingdoms and conquests too numerous to mention here into one book? I haven't the faintest idea how he manages to pull it off, but in India, A History John Keay does exactly that- and more to the point, does it extremely well.

This book represents the best one volume answer to everything you ever wanted to know about India but were afraid to ask. Starting with the earliest civilizations (the Harrapans of the Indus Valley) and wending and winding its way through to the present day, Keay takes the reader by the hand and does his best not to put you into a coma, though he doesn't necessarily succeed at that for the entire book. So yeah, as a history book, this wasn't bad. I've read, seen and heard about plenty worse- dry, dusty and academic to the point of putting the reader into catatonia, but this, thankfully isn't one of those books. Keay is sufficiently engaged and enthusiastic about his subject matter that his enthusiasm is translated to the reader and you actually want to get to more juicy bits when you're stuck between empires.

I guess the obvious question to ask when reading volumes of history is a simple one: did you learn anything? Happily, I can report that with this volume, I learned- a lot. There's a lot more to India than Bollywood movies, curry and catching 'Gandhi' on AMC's Oscar month- much, much more and Keay's real strength lies not in illuminating or saying new things about the Mughal Period or the British Conquest, but filling in the wide gaps of well, my general knowledge about what came before. Empires like the Mauryans, the Cholas (who spread into the SE Asia) and the Guptas with their gold- or even more recent Empires like Vijayanagar in the South were all completely unknown to me, so I learned more than I could possibly want to know- all in one volume.

If Keay does have a fault, well, it's that this book is 500 pages long. Comprehensive, yes, but difficult to read all at once- in fact, I can say that about the next three books I've been reading (including this one)- which is why it's taken me so long to read them. I just couldn't concentrate on this book for an extended period of time and read it all at once- I'd just slip into a coma if I tried. But, slowly but surely- with the right amount of breaks in between, you can get through this book, be entertained, be informed and learn a heckuva lot.

Another fault for Keay: the closer it gets to the present, the less detail Keay offers. To be totally fair, he is trying his best to put the entire history of India into one volume- not an easy feat, so you're probably going to lose something along the way, but the fight for independence and certainly the disaster of Partition and the ramifications of that throughout the past century weren't given the analysis they truly deserve- especially given the magnitude of the disaster of Partition, it's hard to think of another disaster, man-made or otherwise that has impacted the sub-continent so much, even after thousands of years of civilization and history.

Overall: Believe it or not, Keay manages to credibly achieve the near impossible and put the history of this magnificent country into a single volume. If you need to learn about India, rest assured that Keay provides a remarkably clear-eyed view (as free as you can be of Western, colonialist or culturalist biases) of the incredible complexity and succession of kingdoms, empires and civilization that have risen and fallen throughout the history of India and the rest of South Asia.

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Ebook India: A History read Online! John Keay (born 1941) is an English journalist and author specialising in writing popular histories about India and the Far East, often with a particular focus on their colonisation and exploration by Europeans.

John Keay is the author of about 20 books, all factual, mostly historical, and largely to do with Asia, exploration or Scotland. His first book stayed in print for thirty years; many others have become classics. His combination of meticulous research, irreverent wit, powerful narrative and lively prose have invariably been complimented by both reviewers and readers.

UK-based and a full-time author since 1973, he also wrote and presented over 100 documentaries for BBC Radios 3 and 4 from 1975-95 and guest-lectured tour groups 1990-2000. He reviews on related subjects, occasionally speaks on them, and travels extensively.


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